Young side showed courage
Hard work has paid off for Tokoroa’s U17 netball team who are now seeded 16 out of the 40 teams that competed in the 2014 NNZ U17 National Netball tournament.
The young side competed with courage, drive and team unity throughout the whole week operating on the motto that it’s not about being better than someone else; it’s about being better than you were the day before.
Coach Taneta Riki said teams seeded in the top 16 are large regional sides such as Auckland, Christchurch, Hamilton and Canterbury to name a few.
Their player pools consisted of current NNZ SEC players, Aotearoa Maori SEC players and identified high performance netballers.
Riki said that for Tokoroa to only have 12 trialists to reach this level was a ‘‘huge achievement’’.
Senior team leaders Makaia Riki-TeKanawa (Captain), DannyJane Umaki and Paris John lead by example on and off court displaying competitiveness and encouragement for all team members, she said.
‘‘This trio was the heart of this team that made the difference between competing with a purpose to just competing.’’
Tokoroa’s defensive unit, consisting of Makaia Riki-Tekanawa, DJ Umaki, Paris John and Reegan Ford certainly muscled up against the best.
Riki said they displayed some outstanding skills, strong fighting attitudes - never letting anything feel easy to the opposition.
‘‘Their relenting performances certainly lifted their team mates.’’
Experienced mid- courters Chantae Wilson- Jenkins and Tiare Manu who play together in the Tokoroa competition linked both ends of the court with their speed and court smarts.
‘‘ Their ability to read each other’s intentions and shooter’s positioning made feeding the circle less stressful.’’
Riki said they played some of their best netball to date in the week-long tournament.
Newcomers Paige Cuff and Cherish Simeon were the youngest of the team but displayed some gutsy performances on court.
Riki said she was really appreciative of the girls’ patience for court time.
‘‘They didn’t lose their want to take the court and impressed me by always asking for ways they could improve.
‘‘This was a huge learning curve for these young players.’’
The shooting circle consisted of Myarnee Kingi, Amber Brown and Bonnie TeMiha.
Riki said none of the girls had played together before but moulded as a unit quite easily.
‘‘ The three offered different dynamics to the game.
‘‘Myarnee by a strong positional hold to create space, Amber by a near perfect shooting technique and lifting her work rate to rotate the circle and Bonnie by using her defensive skills to gain some brilliant rebounds and ability to offer elevation for circle ball.’’
Strong side: Tokoroa’s U17 netball side performed exceptionally well at national level.