Young net­baller is one to watch

Central Leader - - NEWS - By BEN ROGERS

Holly Fowler has led the New Zealand Sec­ondary Schools net­ball team to a third straight In­ter­na­tional School­girls Net­ball Chal­lenge ti­tle.

The year 12 Mt Al­bert Gram­mar School stu­dent has rep­re­sented the New Zealand school­girls’ team three times but this was her first year as cap­tain.

‘‘I couldn’t be­lieve the hon­our was be­ing of­fered to me, and then af­ter it sank in I felt so proud to take on the re­spon- sibil­ity,’’ she says.

The team went through the tour­na­ment un­beaten, down­ing School Sport Aus­tralia 39-30 in the fi­nal on Fri­day night in Ade­laide.

Holly, 16, puts the squad’s suc­cess down to the great team cul­ture the coaches have cre­ated.

‘‘Hav­ing a great con­nec­tion among the girls went through on to the court and we con­stantly sup­ported each other,’’ she says.

Holly was one of four Mt Al­bert Gram­mar girls who played at the tour­na­ment and on Mon­day night the MAGS pre­mier net­ball team wrapped up the Col­lege Net­ball Fi­nal for the third year in a row, beat­ing Auck­land Girls Gram­mar 37-26.

Holly was named player of the match for her de­fen­sive work in the cir­cle.

Coach of the New Zea- land Sec­ondary Schools side Mar­i­anne De­laney says Holly is the real deal both on and off the court.

‘‘It’s Holly’s third con­sec­u­tive year in the team and she’s not even in her fi­nal year of school yet,’’ De­laney says.

‘‘She al­ways plays to the best of her abil­ity, she’s in­tel­li­gent, thought­ful, per­cep­tive and has the re­spect of all the girls in the team.’’

De­spite her suc­cess on the net­ball court Holly still sees her stud­ies as a pri­or­ity.

‘‘Bal­ance is nec­es­sary, fin­ish­ing off my level threes so I can get into the univer­sity of my choice is key,’’ she says.

The 1.81-me­tre tall de­fender has set her­self the goal of one day don­ning the Sil­ver Ferns’ black dress and play­ing in the ANZ Cham­pi­onship.

Holly is quick to ac­knowl­edge those who have been in­stru­men­tal in her net­ball ca­reer so far.

Sil­ver Fern Casey Kopua is some­one Holly looks up to.

She has also learnt a lot from for­mer MAGS team­mate Jamie-Lee Price and her Mt Al­bert Gram­mar coaches Te Aroha Keenan and Paula Smith.

‘‘The cul­ture has col­lec­tively shaped me into the player and per­son I am to­day.’’

Mary-anne: Beau­ti­ful views from Mt Eden.

Fu­ture star: New Zealand Sec­ondary Schools net­ball cap­tain Holly Fowler hopes to play for the Sil­ver Ferns one day.

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