THE Northern Netball League will take on the Eastern Football League in this year’s netball representative fixture.
The NNL will be seeking to maintain its perfect interleague record when it hosts the best of the East at Parade College on Friday May 12.
Two matches will be played on the night, with an under-19 match to be the curtain-raiser to an open match.
Brooke George has been named head coach of the NNL’s netball program, with Jacinta Tonkin to coach the open side and Sharon Ashworth to coach the under-19 team.
George said the representative fixture would again be a great opportunity for the league’s best netballers to showcase their talent on the big stage.
“We’ve got some of the most talented netballers across the state playing in our league, which is fantastic,” George said.
“If we can get them all on board again this year, and possible even new talent which we are finding out about, that’s really exciting.
“I know quite a lot of netballers who play across in the EFL so if they can also get a strong team together they’re going to be really good games.
“I was very excited last year when they mentioned there was an under-19 representative match and it was great to give them an opportunity when perhaps if there was only an open match they may not have been selected.
“To let them play a representative game is a great opportunity as well.”
The NNL’s open and under-19 teams both won their two representative matches last year.
Both sides recorded comfortable wins over the Southern Football Netball League, before backing up with victories over the Mornington Peninsula Nepean Football League the following weekend.
The NNL also recorded two representative wins against the Southern Football Netball League in 2015, when A-Grade and B-Grade open teams took to the court.
George said the support shown by the NNL’s clubs and elite players had contributed to the positive representative results over the past two years.
She hoped the same would continue in 2017.
“A lot of the girls who play in this competition also play in many other competitions, including the Victorian Netball League and even higher levels, so there schedules are really busy,” George said.
“For them to commit to doing this on top of their normal training is great.
“From the first year we’ve had a core group who have played every year in the open squad and it will be fantastic to have them back on board if they are all willing to play again this year.”
A meeting between the league’s three representative coaches will take place next week to commence planning this year’s representative program.
George expected the program to run in a similar format to recent years, with trials to be held before settling on two playing squads.
“We’re having a meeting next week to finalise details, but there will be one or two selection days where we will get the players to come in and do match play and look at that,” she said.
“Being involved in the league since its inception, I’ve got a good view of all the players.
“I get to see them on game days and we’ll continue watching this year just to make sure that we’re not missing out on anyone that needs to be in the squad.
“It will sort of go from there and then we will have a couple of training sessions and make sure the girls are on the same page with what we’re looking for on the court.”