New pathway to discover most-talented netballers
FRASER Coast's rising netball stars will have another new opportunity to be identified by the state's leading talent scouts.
The Queensland Premier League is a new avenue for netballers to be discovered.
The Queensland State Netball League, in which the region is represented by Wide Bay Thundercats, currently provides a direct pathway to state underage, City v Country and Queensland Fusion representative honours.
According to Hervey Bay coach Kerrianne Farrelly, one of regional Queensland leading coaches, the Premier League will provide another way for the state's most-talented players to be identified and nurtured for higher honours.
"It sits above the Hervey Bay representative level. These girls can be identified for state teams and progressively for other squads and state league teams," Farrelly said.
Farrelly has long been one of Wide Bay Netball's premier coaches. A former Thundercats coach, Farrelly directed Bay Bullets to two consecutive Hervey Bay Netball Association Division 1 titles in 2015-16.
Earlier this year she was assistant coach for Queensland's under-19s, which finished runner-up at the national championship.
She said the state age carnival had become a tournament in which most associations participated, but the Premier League would give the best players a higher level at which to play.
That higher, more difficult, level could help scouts identify the next generation of Fushion, Firebirds and Diamonds players.
"They need the platform to identify those players," Farrelly said.
"There has to be the focus area to send talent ID scouts, and the QPL is certainly one of those platforms, especially in the 16-to-18 age groups."
Hervey Bay will host Zone 4's opening round on Sunday, where the local side will face teams from Bundaberg, Nambour and Nanango in 16s, 18s and Opens. The zone winner will go on to face the winner of Zone 3, which includes the likes of Mackay, Capricorn Coast, Gladstone, and Rockhampton, for the Central Queensland Cup.
The winner will face three other conference winners and the second-placed southeast Queensland team for the chance to be crowned QPL champions.