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Greater support for the Central West’s best young netballers

The Western Region Academy of Sport (WRAS) Netball squad assembled for the first time in February ahead of what will be a big year for the aspiring young athletes.

The Academy has selected 23 athletes and four athlete umpires for the 2023 program, seven of who are returning and are set to provide valuable leadership to the young squad.

Nardia Macdonald has been appointed Head Coach of this year’s squad following the departure of long-term Head Coach and WRAS Life Member, Linda Macleod,  who has taken on the role of Assistant Coach of the South Coast Blaze U23 team for the upcoming season.

The Elite Accredited Coach brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the WRAS program having previously undertaken the roles of Coach Developer, Selector and Mentor for Netball NSW, as well as Head Coach of GWS Fury Opens Premier League and Netball NSW – Metro Emerging Teams

WRAS Executive Officer, Candice Boggs, was full of praise for the outgoing head coach and is now looking forward to seeing her successor working with the Central West’s brightest young netball stars.

“Linda has been an institution in the sport for many years and her tireless contributions will be long remembered. As she takes on this wonderful opportunity to further her coaching career, she has left an incredible legacy within WRAS Netball and the Central West Community,” Candice said.

“This has equally provided Nadia with a great opportunity to take over the running of the WRAS program and guiding what is a really talented squad.

“The selection panel was very impressed with the talent displayed from bottom age athletes at the trials, which highlights that the sport has a very bright future in the Central West.”

Candice Boggs, WRAS Executive Officer

“While athlete development will be the main focus of this year’s program, Nadia will also work closely with the program’s Assistant Coaches, Karen Weekes and Emily Williams, to develop their coaching skills and knowledge. We’ll also open a number of training sessions to local coaches who are keen to develop their skills.”

The squad will train regularly across the region over the coming months, before heading to Wagga Wagga in April for the 2023 Your Local Club Academy Games. They will also travel to Port Macquarie in September where they will compete against 10 other Regional Academies of Sport from across the state in the Greater Bank Academy Challenge.

Greater Bank’s Community Engagement Manager, Ingrid Kaczor, said the organisation was delighted to continue its support of netball in the Central West Region.

“Greater Bank has been a long-time support of grassroots netball across regional NSW and this will now be the fifth year we have partnered with the Western Region Academy of Sport’s netball program,” Ms Kaczor said.

“This partnership not only provides financial support for the program, but 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.”

WRAS Netballer Jorja Bennetts

The 2023 Squad is: Orange Association - Sage Annis-Brown, Marley Aplin, Elsie Callaway, Adeline Hollingworth, Millicent Hollingworth, Freya Keegan, Malia Nicol, Talia Opetaia, Tilly Redfern, Grace Simpson, Isla Stringer, Emily Turner, Lucy Wilson, Lily Escreet (Umpire); Mudgee Association - Jorja Bennetts, Rachel Marshall, Kaylee Roberts (Umpire); Dubbo Association - Emily Fairman, Emily Hines, Isabel Marchant, Lily-Louise Walker, Theané Gouws (Umpire), Abigale Swane (Umpire); Bathurst Association - Samantha Hanrahan, Milla Nelson, Ella Kilby; Parkes Association - Grace Dunford. Head Coach - Nardia Macdonald; Assistant Coaches - Emily Williams (Orange) and Karen Weekes (Dubbo); Umpire Coaches - Michelle Ensor (Dubbo) and Shelley Hutchinson (Dubbo).

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