Young players hop to the challenge

A SOCCER pundit once famously said “you can’t win anything with kids”.

He was wrong about Manchester United, which went on to win the league and cup double, and he’d be wrong about the North Albury netball team.

Across all grades the Hoppers have so far won seven and drawn one game, with a policy of youth again paying dividends.

“We tend to inject youth each year and it’s worked for us,” coach Fiona Boyer said.

“The girls work hard at training and they give themselves every opportunity to demonstrate what we’ve been practising and they do it really well.

“And with their young legs they can do it with speed, which is exciting.”

Youngsters like Kim Opdam, who is just 15, have played well for the Hoppers, while the oldest player has been 21.

But their toughest test may be yet to come, with the girls facing derby rival Albury in tomorrow’s clash at Bunton Park.

Boyer said she was braced for a tight contest.

“Most games will be this year,” she said.

“I don’t know any that will be easy and we’ll have to be fiercely competitive every weekend, which is good — you want that in the premier competition.

“But if the girls continue to develop and implement what they’re working on they’ll certainly set themselves up well for the remainder of the season.”

Boyer said the Hoppers would look to attack strongly down the court and value their possession.

“We just have to keep feeding the goalers, keep pushing the ball into the circle and give them every opportunity,” she said.

Boyer said the Hoppers were in the enviable position that everyone was available for selection, across all grades.

“It’s going to be very competitive for selection,” she said.

“And history says we have always have a kid in A grade, if not half a dozen of them.

“It’s not unusual to have school aged kids in there — we’ve won premierships with them before.

“And it’s rewarding to see these girls put their hand up, it’s good for the club and it’s good for their future in netball.”

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