Hannah Minogue closes on Nutri-Grain series spot

SURF LIFESAVING

This time last year the closest Hannah Minogue had come to a Nutri-Grain series was cheering on brother Josh.

A year later she's comfortably nestled in the top-eight spot and within reach of requalifying for next year's series.

With one round remaining Minogue is just 13 points adrift of the top six finish required to requalify and is hopeful of peaking at the final round of the series in February.

The 23-year-old admits her first season in the top flight has exceeded her expectations.

"I've been a bit up and down but I'm sitting eighth which I couldn't have even asked for at the start," Minogue said.

"Being in eighth and being right up there is pretty exciting going into the last round."

A nipper since the age of five, Minogue has often raced against the country's best but said she was surprised at the constant intensity of back-to-back races.

"I've raced them before and I knew that I could match it with them but this racing is another whole level up," she said.

"It was a bit of a shock to see how hard they race all the time but to be sitting in the top eight is awesome and I just want to finish it off well."

Without previous experience to compare it to, Minogue said she hasn't found the unconventional racing schedule with a two-and-a-half month break between the penultimate and final rounds too difficult to deal with.

"I think no-one really knew how to prepare for it because we had five rounds over pretty much two weekends," she said.

"Being down here [NSW] and not up in Queensland I can't really focus on what other people are doing, so I just worry about myself.

"You've just got to try and be as fresh as possible going in and then try not to get sick over that time period so that's how I've approached it. Now that we've got a long gap I can get into some harder training and be ready for the final round."

With the bulk of her debut season behind her, Minogue will also take plenty of confidence into the state and national titles next year.

"Josh [brother] said to me 'You'll never get a heat or a race harder than this and you've been doing it for five rounds'.

"Going into state or Aussies knowing that I've raced the top 16 in every race in the past couple of weeks gives you the confidence that you're up there and can match it with them and hopefully knock them off."

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