After being sidelined for more than a year due to COVID restrictions, the Western Region Academy of Sport’s netball program is back in 2021, featuring the Central West’s brightest young netball stars.
The 24-member squad, along with four training partners, assembled for the first time on the weekend of 13 and 14 February at Bathurst Indoor Stadium where they participated in a number of activities encouraging bonding, communication and relationship building.
The squad will come together regularly over the coming months at various locations across the Central West and train under the guidance of head coach Linda McLeod.
The Academy’s netball program plays a vital role in the Netball NSW Athlete Pathway by identifying, monitoring and developing the skills of young netballers. The program will consist of on court skills training as well as fitness and athlete education as per the Netball Australia Develop a Diamond program.
Greater Bank will also continue its association with the netball program after becoming its major sponsor for the first time in 2019. Head of Marketing and Customer Experience, Matt Hingston, said he has been impressed by the dedication and achievements of all involved in the program.
“Last year was tough for so many people across the community, including these young athletes who were unable to take to the court and participate in traditional training sessions, games and tournaments,” Matt said.
“I have no doubt though that the unexpected challenges and disappointments they faced over the past 12 months has better prepared them for what we all hope will be a far more prosperous 2021 season.
Head of Marketing and Customer Experience, Matt Hingston
“Our partnership with the Western Region Academy of Sport netball program will again provide more than funding to help offset the program costs for the athletes. This year we will also be conducting financial literacy education sessions in association with the University of Newcastle that will assist the athletes in their personal development off the court.”
In April, the squad will represent the WRAS at the 2021 Your Local Club Academy Games at Maitland Basketball Stadium and later in the year will travel to Orange for the Greater Bank Academy Challenge where they will compete against 10 other Regional Academies of Sport (RAS) from across the state.
The squad members will also represent their respective netball associations at the NSW State Titles in June to be held in Western Sydney.
WRAS Netball Program Members: Taliyah Chatfield, Hope Coombes, Sarah Dickerson, Samantha Hanrahan, Mimi Taylor, Bronte Ward, Abigail Williams (Bathurst), Layla Fearnley (Blayney), Sophie McLennan, Kate Proctor, Hallie Wolfenden (Cowra), Evie Hall, Eva Marchant, Zoe McAneney, Ebony O'Sullivan, Saxbii Shaw, Maia Wake (Dubbo) Makayla McKeown (Geurie), Mackenz Wright (Molong), Charli Greatbatch, Eva Keegan, Asha Nicol and Talia Opetaia (Orange). Netball Program Training Partners: Laura Scott (Bathurst), Ellen Dolbel (Orange), Georgia Faichney and Maddison Morgan (Dubbo)