REP REDEMPTION: Silver lining for Grafton starlet O’Hara
NETBALL NSW has shown a token of good will amid some tough times naming the representative sides that were set to take the court at the cancelled 2020 Regional State Cup.
Grafton Netball Association star Tahlia O’Hara was named in the Far North Coast side, along with Lower Clarence Netball Association coach Terri Collingburn.
A former MVP for the North Coast Academy of Sport, O’Hara continues on her rise despite a disappointing year for the sporting community.
“While the Regional State Cup won’t take place this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Netball NSW would like to take the time to acknowledge the athletes who would have taken part in 2020,” a NNSW spokesperson said.
The competition was introduced to highlight the importance of pathways to athletes in regional NSW between the ages of 17-23.
“Under the watchful eye of talent scouts, successful athletes and officials from the seven regional areas of NSW were due to come together to determine the best region in the state.”
Regional pathways and performance manager, Mardi Aplin, said it is important to identify this talent, even during a time when very few events are taking place.
“Going forward this will give regional athletes the opportunity to be Talent Identified by NSW selectors for underage state team trials and more,” Aplin said.
“It also gives the Origin Energy Premier League franchises the opportunity to observe the athletes in a competitive environment, with the potential for Premier League teams to offer those athletes who may be moving to Sydney a position with their franchise.
“Many regional athletes do not have the opportunities to be a part of Premier League due to distance, finances or schooling but still want to continue on the Pathway to achieve the most they can in netball.”
This year was supposed to mark the first year of the event, but North Coast Academy of Sport product O’Hara will have to wait another year.
“Unfortunately due to the Pandemic we were unable to host the first year of the Regional State Cup, however we are pleased to announce all athletes, coaches and officials who should be very proud of their achievements in getting selected,” Aplin said.
“We cannot thank the selectors and the working groups within each region enough for their ongoing support of this competition and we look forward to delivering a fantastic event in 2021.”
While state representative competitions will not be going ahead, GNA will play host to a regional representative carnival at its Westwood Park courts on Sunday.
2020 Regional State Cup Squad
Far North Coast
Grace Fraser – Lismore
Kaelyah Puni – Ballina
Matilda Elliott – Ballina
Meghann Fry – Lismore
Natasha Flanagan – Lismore
Saskia Dyer – Ballina
Tahlia O’Hara – Grafton
Tarnie Hilyard – Ballina
Zoe Lawrence Daly – Lismore
Zoe Williams – Lismore
Head Coach: Tracey Robinson – Lismore
Assistant Coach: Terri Collingburn – Lower Clarence