THE tall-timber of Border netball are on the national radar.
Jane Cook, 16, and Jacqui Newton, 17, were instrumental in the Victorians’ win over NSW in the Australian 17 and under tournament last weekend.
And both have been rewarded with spots in their age group’s national development squad.
Cook, at 198 centimetres, and Newton, 183 centimetres, were part of a team that turned a nine-point loss into a four-goal win in the decider in Melbourne on Saturday.
Goal shooter Cook didn’t miss — 21 goals straight — while Newton moved from goal defence to goal keeper in the late rounds to dry up the Blues’ scoring options.
“We were the underdogs in the final with NSW thinking they had our measure but we had more intensity and it just rolled on from there,” said Newton, who plays A-Grade for North Albury in the Ovens and Murray.
“I was pretty happy with the way I played, but netball is a team game and we all pulled together.”
Cook said it was a huge team effort.
“We both did everything we could to contribute to the team,” the Wodonga shooter said.
“Coming out of the O and M stats, I wanted to keep my percentage up there and finished by shooting 100 per cent in the grand final.”
The Wodonga pair join a four-day camp at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra next month involving nutrition, fitness and other aspects of an elite sportswoman’s life.
Newton said it was a chance to take their game to the next level.
“When we first joined the Victorian squad — most of the team are city girls and, as girls from the country, we had to prove ourselves,” she said.
“It is a very different style of netball — it was more intense and much quicker.“
“But now we head to Canberra to train with these amazing athletes and great coaches and take another step up.”
Before then, the pair will face off on Saturday when Wodonga takes on the Hoppers at Martin Park.
“We will most likely mark each other, so that will be interesting after being teammates,” Newton said.
“I’ve played against Jane for ages and the state team was the first time we have been on the same side.”
Lavington’s Emily Browne almost secured a national title herself.
The 2012 Toni Wilson medallist was part of the Victorian 19 and under team edged out by Queensland in the grand final.
Cook and Newton are following in the footsteps of Browne who, two years ago, was also named in the Australian 17 and under development squad.