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Netballers take great strides despite another interrupted season

The Central West’s brightest young netball stars have taken great strides in 2021 after wrapping up another season with the Western Region Academy of Sport.

Supported by Greater Bank, the Academy’s netball program provided a wonderful opportunity for the 24-member squad to experience elite-level training and also test their much-improved skills against other regionally-based athletes.

Hailing from all parts of the Central West, including Bathurst, Blanyney, Dubbo, Orange and Cowra, the squad assembled in February for orientation sessions, which allowed the coaching staff and athletes to conduct testing and set goals for the season ahead.

It also provided them with the opportunity to train with Ranell Hobson, Training Director of the Academy of Sport and Speed Australia, who provided invaluable insights into playing and training at an elite level.

The orientation was followed by an intense six-week training program, before taking part in a Regional Academy Camp at Netball Central in Sydney.

In April, the squad travelled to Newcastle to take part in the Academy Games where they had the opportunity to test themselves against the other 10 regional academies from New South Wales. The squad was split into two divisions where the girls developed skills and confidence throughout a terrific two-day netball tournament.

The squad took a break after the Academy Games as the athletes’ focus turned to their local representative programs. When they reassembled in July, the squad only managed one session before COVID saw the cancellation of the season’s remaining events and education sessions.

According to Western Region Academy of Sport Executive Officer, Candice Boggs, the COVID-shortened season did little to dampen the enthusiasm nor stifle the progress of the netball squad athletes.

“It was a real shame that we weren’t able to finish the season as planned, particularly given the progress and momentum the squad gained through the first half of the year. That being said, we have no doubt that it has been a very successful season,” Candice said.

“The commitment and enthusiasm of the players and coaching staff has been exceptional, which was reflective in progress of the squad this season.

Candice Boggs, Western Region Academy of Sport Executive Officer

“Taking part in the Academy Games again was really important for the players’ overall development, allowing them to test their skills and also match management against their peers from across regional NSW.

With vaccination rates increasing and restrictions easing, we are confident that the 2022 program will be uninterrupted, allowing our squad members to progress their skills even further.

Candice also expressed her thanks for Greater Bank’s ongoing support of the program.

“Greater Bank’s major sponsorship of the netball program creates opportunities for regional netballers that otherwise would not exist,” Candice said.

“Our partnership though goes beyond financial support.  We enjoy a wonderful relationship with Greater Bank Branch Managers and employees based in the Central West who regularly support our events and program participants.”

“Western Region Academy of Sport is extremely thankful for Greater Bank’s ongoing support and we look forward to partnering with them in 2022,” she said.

WRAS conducted an online presentation night for all 2021 athletes with Hope Coombes (Bathurst) taking out the Netball Athlete of the Year, Makayla McKeown received the Coach’s Award and Zoe McAneney received the Academy’s highest honour, the 2021 Chairman’s Excellence Award.

CLICK HERE to find out more about Greater Bank’s support of Regional Academy netball programs.

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