By Tim Howard
Former McAuley Catholic College student Lauren Berger has been selected in the NSW 21s netball team to play in the National titles next month.
It is the second time the 20-year-old Berger, from Yamba, has made the State 21s team.
Berger, who plays centre, also debuted this season with the Sydney Swifts, playing one National League game against the Firebirds in Brisbane.
Berger said her selection in the NSW 21s capped off a memorable season.
"Definitely this has been my most memorable year. It's been awesome," Berger said.
"There's six or seven Australian players in the Swifts squad.
"Just training with these players has been an amazing experience."
Berger said the NSW 21s team will include a number of her teammates from the Swifts and the club's State league side the Sydney Storm.
The team will go to Canberra after the October Long Weekend for the Nationals, which will be played over the following week.
Berger said the NSW team's goal was to improve on its third place at last year's Nationals, won by the South Australians.
"We should have done better than third last year," she said.
"We're a better team than that."
Berger said getting on the court with the Swifts in Brisbane was the biggest thrill of her season.
"My family travelled up to see the game. It was really exciting, but I was so nervous," she said.
Berger's mother, Helen Berger, also has vivid memories of the match.
"The first time Lauren touched the ball, she dropped it in front of her," Helen Berger said.
"If she had tried to catch it again she would have been penalised for a replay. I turned around and said. 'It's got to get better than this.'
"But after that Lauren settled down and played quite well."
Berger, who is doing a Bachelor of Community and Social Services at the University of Western Sydney, described her hectic lifestyle this year as 'crazy'.
"I'm always busy, but I love netball and I love uni."
She is not sure if she will be back with the Swifts next year.
"I hope to. But they will pick the team for next year later," she said.
"But they pick the team each year and so many girls are trying to get in the team."