An exciting four-team Queensland based ‘Born to Shine’ mini-series has been formed through collaboration between Netball Queensland, Sunshine Coast Lightning, Queensland Suns and the Pacific AusSport partnership.
Following just a few weeks preparation, this eight-match mini-series will tour the south-east quarter playing matches at the Sunshine Coast, Toowoomba and the Gold Coast.
Netball Queensland High Performance Director, Demelza Fellowes, said it was exciting to have an opportunity to showcase some incredible talent.
“For the last two years the COVID pandemic has caused the cancellation of all national championships impacting the development of our next generation of high performance netballers,” Fellowes said.
“Therefore, the Born to Shine Series aims to provide our players and coaches the opportunity to gain some invaluable tour style experience and top quality competition which will be a feast for fans.
“The Born to Shine series is a showcase of everything netball in Queensland has to offer, collaboration between passionate netball communities, diversity, excellence, flair and fun and we can’t wait to see what plays out on court.”
The Queensland Sapphires team boasts a large contingent of the HART Sapphire Series championship winning Cougars side including QLD Firebirds training partners Mia Stower, Ruby Bakewell-Doran, Macy Gardner, Hulita Veve and Reilley Batcheldor.
Whilst Sunshine Coast Lightning also includes a mix of Sapphire Series and Suncorp Super Netball campaigners including Sunshine Coast Lightning training partners Annabelle Lawrie, Maddie Hinchliffe and Sienna Allen.
Lightning Head Coach Chris Voge said the tour is an excellent development opportunity for the newly formed Lightning ANC team and the regular game time will provide a solid foundation for growth.
“While disappointed the ANC competition is not able to take place in its original form, we are pleased that we can still provide these athletes with an elite environment to train and compete,” Voge said.
“We believe we have hand-picked a group of quality athletes who will benefit long term from this experience and the intensive tournament format will allow us to see real advancement both as individuals and a team.
“Any opportunity to play in front of a Sunshine Coast crowd is something we welcome, and to then travel to Toowoomba and Gold Coast and engage with new audiences is a great result.”
It’s not just Queensland’s rising talent on display, with the Pacific AusSport team adding a whole lot of flair to the series.
Coached by Fijian Pearls Head Coach (former Firebirds Assistant Coach) Jenny Brazel and featuring a range of Pasifika athletes including the two Fijian players who played with the Northern Rays across the year.
Rounding out the flavour of the Born to Shine series is the Queensland Suns men’s netball team.
Renowned for their dynamic and aerial style, the Suns also were disappointed by the cancellation of the men’s national championships and are looking forward to stepping out on court together for some quality competition.
The original Australian Netball Championships competition was set to take place in Traralgon in Victoria, however interstate border closures and restrictions have prevented the league from going ahead for a second consecutive season.
Games will be open to the public and netball fans are encouraged to attend to cheer on the emerging Queensland talent.
Round 1, Monday 13 September (USC Stadium, Sippy Downs)
3.00pm – SCL V QLD Sapphires
5.00pm – Pacific v QLD Suns
Round 2, Tuesday 14 September (USC Stadium, Sippy Downs)
5.00pm – Pacific v QLD Sapphires.
7.00pm – SCL V QLD Suns
Round 3, Thursday 16 September (Clive Berghofer Arena, Toowoomba)
4pm – SCL v Pacific
6pm – QLD Sapphires v QLD Suns
Round 4, Saturday 18 September (Coomera)
2pm – QLD Suns V Pacific
4pm – Sapphires v SCL
*Times subject to change*