Ipswich junior representative netball leaders (from left) Josie Green, Georgia Spark, Georgia Cole, Tayla Stathis, Sophie Giles, Bridget Cumming and Annalyce Smith are preparing for the state championships this weekend.
Ipswich junior representative netball leaders (from left) Josie Green, Georgia Spark, Georgia Cole, Tayla Stathis, Sophie Giles, Bridget Cumming and Annalyce Smith are preparing for the state championships this weekend. Sarah Harvey

Ipswich tyros on hunt for glory

IPSWICH junior representative netball teams have performed well this season but the real test of credentials comes this weekend.

Ipswich sends its best under 13, 14, 15 and 16 teams to the state age titles at Maroochydore from today until Monday.

All the Ipswich teams will compete in Division two.

The signs suggest Ipswich's junior teams are returning to their former glory, with the under 12a and b teams crowned champions at last month's Queensland Challenge carnival. Ipswich's 15b side was runner-up.

At the Logan district carnival last weekend, the under 16s won with the under 15s equal second.

However, the state titles are a different challenge.

"It is too hard to say if that will transfer to the state titles," Ipswich Netball Association (INA) representative secretary Nicole Spark said.

"They will not necessarily be up against the same teams."

While she won't predict medals, Spark expects a strong showing from the Ipswich girls.

The under 15s have been boosted by the arrival of mid-court player Belle Fisher from Townsville.

The under 14s look strong under experienced coach Kerry Franklin.

"There's been a lot more success this year across the board," Spark said.

"Everyone's done a good job.

"At the Challenge carnival, we got three trophies but the state age titles are a big step-up."

Spark knows there are more important things than results in the short term.

"It is not always results that show how we've improved," she said.

"If the coaches come home seeing some improvement in teams, then it's a good sign.

"We've noticed in the under 15s that the players are starting to take on to the court what the coaches are teaching them.

"We're also trying to upskill the coaches who are obviously improving.

"The Vicki Wilson clinics the INA has held have obviously helped both the coaches and girls.

"It is giving them the opportunity to improve."

Even more importantly, the INA retains a focus on the one thing that will keep them in the game and encourage other girls to get involved in netball - having fun.

"We want them to go away, enjoy the weekend and enjoy playing netball," Spark said. "Which is what they love doing."



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