With six Kia Magic players spearheading the line-up, Netball Waikato Bay of Plenty Zone has assembled a strong squad to defend their national under-23 title in Dunedin in July.

After two recent trials, 15 players have been named in the Wintec Waikato Bay of Plenty under-23 squad which will be cut to 12 ahead of the national tournament.

The staging of the first national under-23 tournament last year proved an instant success with Coach Mary-Jane Araroa leading Wintec Waikato Bay of Plenty to the inaugural title. The popular and successful Araroa will coach the team again this year.

The decision to resort to an under-23 grade by Netball New Zealand was an attempt to capture and cover a gap that had been identified between under-21 and ANZ Championship level.

By increasing that age group of competition at a national level, their involvement was harnessed more effectively while also providing a higher standard of competition than the previous under-21 event.

It also proved beneficial to a number of young players sitting in ANZ Championship teams who were not getting much court time, allowing them to come back into the under-23 competition and actually get a lot more playing time.

The new competition certainly showed its value with four of last year’s Wintec Waikato Bay of Plenty team going on to secure contracts with Kia Magic for 2014.

``We were delighted with last year’s outcome and the standards set by the under-23 team and their coach Mary-Jane,’’ Waikato Bay of Plenty Zone CEO Tim Hamilton says.

The netballers came up against the specialist skills of Wintec’s Sport Scientist, Dr Peter Maulder and High Performance Sport New Zealand sport scientist, Sam Chambers during trials. The pair facilitated fitness assessments and athletic aptitudes which helped with selection of the squad.

“It was a great opportunity to represent Wintec’s expertise in sport science in assessing athletes of this calibre,’’ says Dr Maulder.

``The athletic aptitudes identified should put the squad in good stead for a successful national competition campaign in 2014.”

Hamilton says, “it was fantastic to have Maulder and Chambers’ specialist support during trials, as well as the continued support from Wintec and our principal community netball partners.”

Squad

Elsa Brown:  Trust Waikato Hamilton City Netball Centre

Ariana Cable-Dixon:  Trust Waikato Hamilton City Netball Centre

Amy Christophers: Trust Waikato Hamilton City Netball Centre

Katherine Coffin: Kia Magic

Ngawai Eyles:  Trust Waikato Hamilton City Netball Centre

Simmon Howe:  Trust Waikato Hamilton City Netball Centre

Linda Kells:  Trust Waikato Hamilton City Netball Centre

Brooke Leaver: Kia Magic

Tamsin Moala:  Trust Waikato Hamilton City Netball Centre

Malia Paseka:  Kia Magic

Jamie-Lee Price: Kia Magic

Samantha Sinclair: Kia Magic

Alix Stevens: Trust Waikato Hamilton City Netball Centre

Jo Trip:  Kia Magic

Bryony Wilson: Trust Waikato Hamilton City Netball Centre

Management

Mary-Jane Araroa -  Head Coach

Rebecca Greenhalgh -  Assistant Coach

Kim Ingham  -  Manager

Clarke McKenzie - Physiotherapist

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