Porirua netballer rising fast
It has been a month to remember for Mila Reuelu-Buchanan.
The Porirua netball star made the New Zealand secondary schools team and spearheaded Wellington East’s efforts in the national schools knockout tournament.
Reuelu-Buchanan, who will be back at school next year, is only the third Wellington player to make the national secondary schools side since 2007.
She follows fellow Porirua teen Whitney Souness, who made the team from St Mary’s last year.
Former Wellington Girls’ star Emma Weenik was selected in 2009 and 2010.
Reuelu-Buchanan has made rapid progress since being switched from goal attack to midcourt last year.
‘‘She hasn’t been a midcourter for very long, but is a natural feeder of the ball and has made the [New Zealand] team as a year 12, so she’s very promising,’’ secondary schools head coach Marianne Delaney said.
‘‘ She’s a very determined player – quite ruthless – and just goes.
‘‘She plays with courage, is fast and athletic and has worked hard on her fitness.
‘‘She is very coachable and has kept improving.
‘‘But there is a lot of talent coming through and the players have to do really well to even make it to the training camps.’’
Four of the 2014 national squad were also selected last year.
The New Zealand side, strongly dominated by northerners, successfully defended their title at the annual international tournament, which finished in Adelaide on Friday.
The 10 teams in the tournament were drawn from all around the Pacific. New Zealand entries included Aotearoa Maori and Tonga Auckland.
There were also Fijian, Malaysian, Pacific and Australian entries.
New Zealand dominated the event.
Their toughest game was early on, against Sport Australia, when they were hard pushed to win 33-29. They beat the same side in the final, 39-30.
Meanwhile, Reuelu-Buchanan helped East to an extra-time victory over St Mary’s in a pulsating quarterfinal of the national schools tournament a few weeks ago.
East won 26-25 in golden goal extra time.
Unfortunately for East, Reuelu-Buchanan was on duty in Adelaide when they met Auckland Girls’ Grammar in the semi-final in Palmerston.
The Aucklanders won 21-19.
Budding star: Mila Reuelu-Buchanan, who has been a boon to the Wellington East Girls’ College netball side.