New state mission for Flyers star

LYING on the sidelines in agony with two torn quadriceps as her teammates contested the grand final was probably not how Lauren Nieuwenburg envisioned her farewell to the Ipswich Flyers.

But so it has proved.

At least the Flyers won the grand final, claiming the state tier three title for the second successive season to send her off a winner last season.

Rather than back up with the Flyers again this season, Nieuwenburg has taken the step up to the state's tier one competition, the Queensland Champions Cup.

She has joined the Logan Wildcats and played her first game for them at the weekend, a loss to the Elite Development Squad.

"I threw a bit too many away," was Nieuwenburg's self-assessment of her top tier debut.

"But it was a pretty good game.

"It's a good level of competition."

At the end of last season, Nieuwenburg nominated for the tier one Wildcats and Brisbane West Lions.

"I had put my name down to trial but didn't because I had too much on at university," the engineering student said.

But when a Wildcats player pulled out of the squad, Nieuwenburg received a surprise email from Wildcats coach Hilary Collins.

She had to think about the offer, having just accepted a new job.

But the temptation proved too much for Nieuwenburg's competitive instincts.

"I decided to give it a go," the 24-year-old Collingwood Park resident said.

"The training was definitely a step up. It's more intense.

"We have gym sessions at 5.30am but I like the level of it.

"It's just that initial getting off the couch."

Nieuwenburg has had to get used to more than the intensity of training, as she has shifted from defence into the mid-court.

"That's the position that was available," she said of the switch.

At 175cm Nieuwenburg is deemed too short for a defender at tier one level.

She has not played mid-court since she was 10 or 11.

"It is a completely different game," Nieuwenburg said.

"There's the fitness.

"At centre you can still stand back and read the play but wing defence is a different game.

"But I still enjoyed it."

Nieuwenburg has been at the heart of the Flyers' success in recent years and admits it was hard saying farewell to her Flyers family.

"They're a good bunch of girls and we're all pretty close," she said.

"I'll be keeping in touch."

Topics:  lauren nieuwenburg, netball



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