Queensland Firebirds player Chelsea Pitman works with Australian Defence Force teams who have been training in Amberley all week.
Queensland Firebirds player Chelsea Pitman works with Australian Defence Force teams who have been training in Amberley all week. Contributed

Cude relishing national challenge

IPSWICH-based netballer Nicole Cude will tackle the country's best players at the Australian Men's and Mixed Nationals starting tomorrow at the Gold Coast.

Cude, who represents Brisbane West Lions in the Holden Cruze Cup, is eagerly awaiting the seven-day challenge at Runaway Bay.

"In mixed netball, you need to adjust to playing with and against men, as men are stronger and taller in most cases," Cude said.

"You need to commit to every single drive and expect that you will cop a knock.

"Ladies netball is also physical and fast paced, however I find ladies netball to be a more structured game in comparison."

Cude is the QT City of Ipswich senior sportstar for July in the 2011-12 awards.

She's only been involved with mixed netball for a year after looking for a challenge.

"I was lucky enough to be chosen in the Australian mixed team last year," she said.

Playing for the Brisbane West Lions in Queensland's premier competition has been a benefit for Cude leading into nationals. She has pre-tournament training and match play under her belt.

"I am also lucky we have three Mission Queensland Firebirds in our Brisbane West Lions team this year and any match play with Firebirds players is always a bonus," she said.

Being in a practically new team in 2012, Cude is looking forward to the week ahead, particularly from the Victorians.

"I am expecting great things this year for the Queensland Suns mixed netball team," the 2011 Australian representative said.

"We should make the grand final and we definitely have the potential to win it."

Meanwhile, as the Queensland Suns mixed and men's teams gear up for the nationals, so are the Australian Defence Force teams.

They had received some specialist training from Queensland Firebird Chelsea Pitman.

Pitman made the trip to the Amberley RAAF Base on Wednesday to deliver an hour session with the team.

"It was great to be able to help out a team that is made up of serving defence force personnel," Pitman said.

"These teams only get together a week prior to nationals so they need a little extra help with training."

Following her training session, Pitman was given a tour of the RAAF base and was able to sit in a Hornet fighter plane.



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