Flyers rebuilding exciting talent in new series
PREPARING for Friday night's new netball challenge, Ipswich head coach Lailee Smith had to deal with some setbacks.
She was trying to finalise an Ipswich Flyers team comprising under-19 and under-17 players for the restructured Greater Brisbane Netball League (GBNL) series.
With no senior Flyers team this senior, the hope was Ipswich could field a development side featuring the region's most exciting youth.
However, the under-17 team has only just come together with some under-19 players withdrawing due to study and other commitments.
Waiting for confirmation who the Flyers play at Nissan Arena on Friday night, head coach Smith is adopting a positive approach for the new GBNL competition.
"I've got a good group of 17s I'm looking forward to working with,'' she said.
The under-17 players come from different Ipswich club sides.
"We've got a mixture of girls that have played together before so we've got some top team building that we need to do,'' she said.
Before withdrawing this season, the Flyers senior side had been regular finalists in the previous Queensland Premier League competitions, including winning the 2019 grand final.
"Due to minimal nominations there won't be a Flyers team this season,'' said Ipswich Netball Association president Nicole Virtue.
"It's not the first time that we haven't had Flyers (in the senior competition). A lot of the players are entering different stages of their lives with weddings, expanding families etc.
"Our focus this year and over the next few years is to rebuild the pathway to the Flyers.''
Smith has stepped up to work with the Flyers teenagers having been involved with the Ipswich Netball Association junior program for the past five years.
The former NSW State League and Canterbury player has also previously coached under-17 netballers.
"It's awesome,'' Smith said of working with netballers this age.
"We've got some good kids coming through.
"They are learning from me but I am also learning from them.
"I'm excited for the season.
"There were a few setbacks. We had quite a few players pull out and we had to find some new talent but we've been keeping it positive at training nights.''
The new Flyers squad has nine players and three training partners.
The 17 years Ipswich Flyers Greater Brisbane Netball League team is: Holly Andrews, Ebany Dixon, Kardelia Goodson, Charity Tonumaipea, Liliana McAuley, Sophie Wilkins, Tahlia Murphy, Sheridan Zeller, Evontae Poananga. Training partners: Barbara Tofa, Abigail Walsh, Ruby Gilloway.