THREE rising Ovens and Murray netball stars have been selected in Victorian teams to play in the Australian championships in Melbourne next year.
Lavington’s Emily Browne (19 and under) and Wodonga’s Jane Cook and North Albury’s Jacqui Newton (17 and under) survived a series of cuts to make 12-member sides.
Talented Hopper youngster Olivia Sinclair was named as a reserve for the 17 and under line-up.
Victorian 19 and under head coach Nicole Richardson said the Ovens and Murray was quickly becoming a breeding ground for producing young talent.
“In the past Victorian sides have been inundated with metro athletes,” she said.
“But I think football and netball leagues are contributing to a lot of success of these players making state. These girls are being exposed to playing bigger bodies and older, more experienced players.
“I think it’s assisting in their development.
“It’s helping put them on a level playing field against players who are involved in a VNL environment.”
Browne was named as a mid-court player in Richardson’s side despite only being 17 with the former Toni Wilson medallist set to gain further experience playing with Monash University Centrals in the new year.
“Emily’s a very tenacious centre court player,” she said.
“She has a lot of talent.”
Cook, Newton and Sinclair have come through the North East zone academy program and travelled to Melbourne for trials for six of the past eight weekends.
Cook emerged as a huge talent playing as a shooter for Wodonga as a 15-year-old this year, while Newton and Sinclair enjoyed strong seasons at Bunton Park.
About 150 youngsters were in the mix for selection.
The championships will be held in April.
Former Wangaratta Rovers’ player Mikaela Vaughan was also named in the 21 and under side.