Ipswich junior stars among rich Jets talent at state titles
THE next generation of Jets netball talent is aiming higher at the Queensland titles starting on Sunday.
After some positive development work last year, the latest USQ Jets 16 and 18 years sides are striving for success in the three-day championships at the Queensland State Netball Centre.
"This year, there's a lot more strength in this age group,'' senior Jets coach and 18 years team manager Camille Rieck said.
"It's exciting to see the amount of talent coming out of the western corridor.''
The netballers chosen mainly came from the Western Districts, Ipswich and Toowoomba associations.
The Jets 16 years side features Ipswich duo Sienna Hirsch and Alix Smith.
Ipswich Flyers senior team regular Lusa-Laquana Lazaro-Segi was selected in the Jets 18 years line-up.
"There is a great history of producing wonderful high performing athletes from this region with some of the greats in Laura Geitz, Clare McMeniman, Laura Clemisha and our own Steph O'Brien who will be coaching the 16 years,'' Rieck said.
O'Brien is captain of the Jets team in Netball Queensland's elite Sapphire series.
Rieck coaches the Jets Ruby Series side that made last year's grand final.
She will work as manager of the 18 years team at the state titles, along with a valuable mentoring role.
The state titles start with pool games on Sunday, leading into finals on Monday and the grand finals on Tuesday.
"The purpose of the state titles are to showcase talented young ladies from all over Queensland and provides an opportunity for the state 17's and 19's teams selectors to produce a squad of athletes eligible for selection into our Queensland high performing under age teams to compete in the 2021 Nationals,'' Rieck said.
The junior format was launched by Netball Queensland last year.
The Jets 16s finished fourth with the 18s coming seventh.
This year's 16 years competition features 12 teams from around Queensand.
Ten sides, including the Sapphire and Ruby series franchise clubs, will contest the 18 years tournament.
The Jets 16 years side is being coached by O'Brien, assisted by another Sapphires series player Mikeeley Hoch.
Western Districts Open's Queensland Premier League coach Lily Eruera and Toowoomba-based assistant Tom Morton will guide the Jets 18s.
The players received their uniforms at a special presentation.
"They selected the best talent in the region that came to trials,'' Rieck said.
"Our USQ Jets 16s and 18s have had three sessions training together to prepare for the state titles and are already looking to be stronger and more determined than the 2019 campaign,'' Rieck said.
"It will be great to see them on court to showcase their skills and court craft.
"We are eager at USQ Jets to share the champion mindset philosophy we have nurtured in the Jets Sapphire and Ruby environments. This group of talented athletes are ready and eager to impress at state titles.''
Matches start at 9am on Sunday at Nissan Arena.
Finals will be played on Tuesday.
Ipswich Jets 16 years team: Kiara Condon (Western Districts), Renee Cubby (Toowoomba), Lauren De Re (Western Districts), Sienna Hirsch (Ipswich) Tayla Jackson (Western Districts), Tavia Jensen (Western Districts), Ocean Karekare (Western Districts), Tia Pohio (Western Districts), Alix Smith (Ipswich), Kirsten-Lupe Tanielu (Western Districts), Millie Watt (Western Districts), Emma MacDonald (Western Districts).
Training partners: Ella Bashford (Western Districts), Emma Henderson (Downey Park), Aldora Tuilaepa (Western Districts), Keelie Nason (Western Districts).
Ipswich Jets 18 years team: Emma Archbold (Western Districts), Naomi Solomona (Western Districts), Olivia Roberts (Western Districts), Ella Blackman (Western Districts), Lusa-Laquane Lazaro-Segi (Ipswich), Holly Atherton (Western Districts), Hannah Burgess (Metropolitan Districts), Grace Franklin (Western Districts), Alexis McKechnie (Redlands), Emily Dodd (Western Districts).
Training partners: Keeley McNamara (Ipswich), Georgie May Walker (Western Districts).