Bris­bane bound

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Sport - BY COLIN MACGILLIVR­AY

Tal­ented Hor­sham net­baller Bianca Lau­ri­cella is pre­par­ing to rep­re­sent her state for the fourth time, at next month’s Marie Lit­tle OAM Shield in Bris­bane.

Lau­ri­cella, 18, has been picked for the past three Vic­to­rian teams at the tour­na­ment, which serves as a na­tional all-abil­i­ties net­ball cham­pi­onship.

Lau­ri­cella, who has an in­tel­lec­tual dis­abil­ity, said she was thrilled to be back on the Vic­to­rian team for the tour­na­ment.

“I started play­ing net­ball when I was six years old,” she said.

“I al­ways wanted to play. I love play­ing net­ball be­cause it helps keep your fit­ness up, you get to make new friends and you get to meet lots of peo­ple. It helps my con­fi­dence as well.”

Lau­ri­cella, a mem­ber of the Wim­mera Whip­pets all-abil­i­ties sport­ing club, plays mostly at cen­tre but can also switch to wing at­tack or wing de­fence.

She is a dec­o­rated ath­lete, hav­ing been nom­i­nated for the Wim­mera Sports Star of the Year Award and the Ricci Marks Award, which recog­nises the out­stand­ing achieve­ments of young Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der peo­ple in Vic­to­ria.

Lau­ri­cella said she was proud to rep­re­sent her Wotjobaluk her­itage and the Wim­mera when play­ing for Vic­to­ria.

She also said she en­joyed play­ing sev­eral games in the span of three days as a way of chal­leng­ing her­self.

While Lau­ri­cella has made the Vic­to­rian team be­fore, qual­i­fy­ing again was no easy process.

Her mother Robyn said Bianca trained in Mel­bourne ev­ery Sun­day as part of the se­lec­tion process and would con­tinue to train with the team in the lead-up to the shield.

With play­ers need­ing to make their own way to Bris­bane for the cham­pi­onships, Robyn said she was con­sid­er­ing set­ting up a Go Fund Me page to help raise money for flights.

But while the lo­gis­tics of get­ting Bianca to the cham­pi­onships are com­pli­cated, Robyn said the ex­pe­ri­ence was worth it.

“One of the Mel­bourne Vix­ens play­ers is an as­sis­tant coach with the team, so it’s great to have a high-pro­file player like that men­tor­ing them,” she said.

“In the other years she has played at the tour­na­ment, New South Wales has been too strong and we haven’t won, but I think they’ll bring home the gold medal this year.”

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