Excitement builds as netballers enter final trials

Normal, Sports

The National, Thursday October 17th, 2013


IT will be a double treat for the Pepes 30-member train-on squad during their final trials this weekend.

From the trial that will be staged at the Sir John Guise Stadium on Saturday and Sunday, not only a final 12-member squad will be selected but three players aged below 19 years will be identified to attend a high performance development camp in Auckland, New Zealand, from December 13-17.

Papua New Guinea Netball Federation president Julienne Leka-Maliaki, pictured, said yesterday PNG Netball had received an invitation from the Oceania Netball Federation for three elite players to under­go a week-long training camp.

The training camp will be attended by selected players from the Cook Islands, Fiji and Samoa.

Leka-Maliaki said the request was timely as the team was gearing up for 2014 Pacific Netball Series ,which would be the 2015 World Cup qualifier in Cook Islands and a build-up for the 2015 Port Moresby Pacific Games.

“We have so many potential players and when we put these three into the senior team, they will make a great impact,” Leka-Maliaki said.

She said the identifying the three players would be based on their performance at the recent World Youth Championships in Glasgow, Scotland.

“This is the first time for such a selection and we are very privileged. These selected players will get to train alongside very skilled high performance coaches,” she said.

For the rest of the squad it is crunch time.

A final 12-member team and three non-travelling reserves will be picked after the two-day trial and camp.

Leka-Maliaki said a separate 60-member squad selected from the national championships would be named once the selectors finalised listing.

The train-on squad that will under go trials this weekend has a good mixture of youth and experience and all spots are up for grabs.

Several Junior Pepes in the likes of nifty centre court Kimberly Rawali and aggressive goal keeper Margaret Eka will be two dynamic players to look out for.

The combinations of upcoming 14-year-old goal shooter Jephat Tulapi and top goal shooters Lua Rikis and Telstars lofty Albertine Ehari will bring some excitement during the trials.

Coach Annie Iamo will be guiding the Pepes at the Six Nations Cup in Singapore and hoping for repeat success at the Pacific Netball Series in Samoa where PNG finished second to Fiji and ahead of the Cook Islands and Samoa in June.

Leka-Maliaki said the trials would be exciting to watch, especially the combinations of the players.

The squad is in training for the Six Nations Cup.

The tournament will be played in Singapore from December 1-7.