Under 19 State League team begin campaign with defeat
THE Ipswich under-19 State League team began its Division 2 campaign last week with a 58-44 loss to Northern Gold Coast.
But for the young Ipswich side results are not the major consideration this season.
Their development is a much higher priority.
The team is coached by Lillian Eruera, who coached the Ipswich under16 team last year, with a large portion of that team making up this year's 19s.
"It's a challenge because they're inexperienced," Eruera said.
"Only three played in the 19s last year so we don't have that experienced core.
"But it gives us something to work on for next season.
"We're willing to do what we can to get better each week."
Against Northern Gold Coast Ipswich had to overcome not just much more experienced opponents, but the nerves involved with competing at that level for the first time.
"It was hard," Eruera said.
"The girls were quite nervous because they haven't been on that particular type of court before.
"But I thought they did a good job for their first game together as a team.
"The most pleasing thing was they maintained their togetherness and held their heads high."
Eruera was particularly pleased with the efforts of her goal defence Zascha Vaoiva.
Not just the way she played but the way she supported those around her, justifying the coach's call to make her captain.
"She just kept encouraging them and directing them and pointed out where they need to be," Eruera said.
The other challenge for the coach is maintaining the interest of the girls at an age when many teenagers develop other priorities.
"It's the motivation," the teacher's aid said of her biggest challenge.
"It's at the stage where you lose them so you've got to make it exciting and provide a goal to look up to."
In that regard Eruera is grateful for the example set by the senior Ipswich women's side, the Flyers.
The Flyers train with the U19s and help and encourage them, so it is no surprise they have become role models to many.
"We enjoy training with them," Eruera said.
"The girls thrive on that.
"And the under 12s to 16s look up to the under-19s.
"We're role models for them."
The Ipswich U19s play Toowoomba in round two at the State Netball Centre, Mt Gravatt on Friday.