Illawarra’s finest young netballers take on the state's best in the State Age Championships at Penrith District Association early next month.
The three-day titles from July 1-3 feature more than 300 teams from 83 associations across NSW, with Illawarra in the elite Championship Division in 12 Years, 13 Years, 14 Years and 15 Years.
Each Illawarra team will play 19 games and expectations are high following some fine performances at the warm-up carnivals and a strong effort at last year’s State Age.
Three Illawarra teams finished in the top 10 in the 2016 State Age, led by the 15 Years who were fifth.
The Illawarra 12s have had a great build-up this year winning three carnivals and the team is very excited for their first experience of State Age. Coach Elizabeth Osborne says the team can't wait to challenge themselves at the highest level and are looking forward to a tough, but exciting, three days.
The Illawarra 13s are looking to improve on a fine 8th last year and have played in four lead-up carnivals, with two very positive results in being runners up at Bankstown and winning the Eastwood Ryde Carnival at Championship level.
Coach David Whitchurch says the team is working hard on teamwork, on and off the court, to help our performance and results.
The coaching staff are confident of a fun packed three days, creating lifetime memories and friendships.
The Illawarra 14s coach Peiti Haines says the team want to improve on 10th spot last year.
The team have welcomed three new players and have had a number of players change positions. The girls have worked really well to build their best attacking and defence structures and are working at improving with every game on the court.
Finally, the Illawarra 15s are playing in their final State Age and since 12 years the majority of this team have been together.
Coach Catherine Jones says the team are very focused and have worked hard to achieve their best.
The team have finished in the top five all three years and while they have had one major injury to a key player this year they are determined to work hard and perform to their best.
The coaching team are very proud of the team’s ability both skill wise and mentally to work together and as young ambassadors for the Illawarra association.
The Illawarra Association is proud of the efforts of all the coaching staffs and players who have put in months of preparation for the biggest event on the junior program.
The State Age Championships were first held in 1968 and have grown into one of the largest junior female sporting events in Australia each year.
Baulkham Hills, Manly-Warringah, Liverpool City and Sutherland have been among the top associations in recent years.