Premier netball competition under way
Tash Masters wants her club to shake off the bridesmaid tag this year.
The captain of the Te Tai Timu premier 1 netball side is hoping its third time lucky for them in 2016. In their first year in the top Kapi Mana grade two years ago, they lost a pulsating final to perennial heavyweights Norths, and last year finished third.
This winter Te Tai Timu have their best opportunity for top honours, because the premier 1 grade has been reduced to six teams and the club has had a second team promoted into the grade.
As well, Norths and KBJ 1 will be playing in the regional Super League competition and lose players to age group and representative duty.
Masters said her charges fancied their chances.
‘‘This could be our year,’’ she said. ‘‘It’s great to have two [Te Tai Timu] teams in the grade to grow talent and depth.
‘‘We’re capable, have trained well, and have a fulltime coach on board.
‘‘But we have to have the consistency. We beat KBJ by 10 in the first round [on May 7], so it was a nice way to start.’’
Masters said the lower number of teams in the premier 1 grade had raised questions, but she said the quality was still there.
Tawa College, who played in Kapi Mana last season, now play in the Wellington competition.
Norths would always be the team to beat in Porirua, Masters said.
‘‘I don’t think the competition is as strong as in the past, but there is a lot of new blood and it won’t be easy.’’
Masters said one of their new young stars to watch was under-21 Cook Islands international Deanna Dando.
Besides Norths, KBJ and the two Te Tai Timu teams, Aotea College and Rockz fill the remaining premier 1 spots.
Meanwhile, Central are top of the table after five rounds of the Beko netball league.
The team, featuring the Porirua trio of Jermaine HowardVallance, Colleen Faleafaga and Mila Reulu-Buchanan, produced their most complete game when downing Northern 56-45 at Te Rauparaha Arena on May 1.
The competition final will be in Auckland on June 26.
Te Tai Timu 1’s Rochelle Taraeka in action last season.