South Coast Blaze unveil their talent identification program athletes for 2021

The 2021 South Coast Blaze talent identification program squad. Photo: Blaze Media
The 2021 South Coast Blaze talent identification program squad. Photo: Blaze Media

THE South Coast Blaze, a franchise in the Netball NSW Premier League, has unveiled the players successfully selected in their 2021 talent identification program.

The Blaze, in partnership with Illawarra District Netball Association, Kiama Netball Association, Shoalhaven Netball Association, and Campbelltown District Netball Association, created the program for 14 to 18-year-old female and male athletes to develop future elite netball players, providing them with an opportunity to train with other talented players and receive specialist coaching in a high-performance environment.

Two Sapphire Coast players have made the grade with Alyssa Beasy and Christian Bownds both picked up as part of the 62-player strong lineup.

The squad will be coached across six sessions by advanced and elite accredited coaches, headed up by Campbelltown District Netball Association representative co-ordinator and Metro League coach Tracey Connolly, along with Blaze opens head coach Marji Parr and under 23s head coach Regan Tweddle.

Former Sydney Swifts stars Nat Behl (nee Sloane) and Kimberlee Gilmour, and former UK Netball Superleague player, Donna Fearon will also be sharing their specialist knowledge as part of the coaching team.

"This is the second year of our talent identification program and there was a massive turnout again for trials with the program expanding beyond the South Coast into South Western Sydney this year, following Campbelltown District Netball Association coming on board as a new partner association," South Coast Blaze chairperson Karina Franke said.

"The number of strong players that trialled shows that netball is thriving in the South Coast and surrounding regions, and we are extremely proud to be able to provide a development pathway for these athletes through the program.

"We congratulate all the players that were selected in our 2021 TIP squad and hope that they learn as much as they can over the sessions from our exceptional coaching line up.

This year's 62-person squad is headlined by Kiama's Bridie Giles, Zali Guy, Isabelle Krstevski, Vashti Loxley, Kyra Martin, Lexi McEvoy, Kate McLaughin, Grace Schofield, Kayla Wakeford and Sarah Wyber, Shoalhaven's Shania Campbell-Cooper, Chloe Couley, Olivia Davis, Ella Dyball, Isabel Goodwin, Ella Mansfield, Kayla Rayes and Phoebe Szymoniczek and Ulladulla's Laura Hoyer and Brooke Mayor.

The NSW Netball Premier League is the pinnacle competition in the state and has operated for the past five years since being founded in 2016. It provides a local, elite platform for players, coaches, officials and serves as a feeder program to Super Netball.