SUSAN Pratley has come one step nearer to fulfilling her ultimate ambition, to be a member of the Australian Open netball team.

The 17 year old Bega High School student from Quaama has been named as one of 11 netballers supported by the NSW Institute of Sport (NSWIS) to be the 2000 Australian 17U and 19U Talent Identification Squads following the completion of the National Netball Championships over the weekend.

Susan, along with Jackie Murphy (Marrar),and Vanessa Ware (Sutherland) were selected on the 17U Australian Squad, while Bronwyn Atkins (Blacktown), Katie Bradstock (Hamlyn Terrace), Samantha Dennis (Narrabeen), Annabel Gazzoli (Killara), Tanya Lund (Belrose), Samantha Steedman (Kings Park) Julia Symons (Beecroft) and Zoe Uphill (Kiama) gained berths on the Australian 19 Squad.

Susan, Murphy, and Ware were joined by five other NSWIS netballers (Melanie Wilson-Beacon Hill, Matilda Johnson-Strathfield, Kathryn Ainsworth-Ballina, Vanessa Flood-Castle Hill and Jodie McClelland-Bankstown) in the final of the 17U National Netball Championships in Canberra over the weekend.

The NSW team was defeated by Queensland (40-21) in the final, with NSWIS players scoring all of NSW’s goals (Susan top-scored with 13 goals, while Ware and Ainsworth scored seven and one goal respectively).

Nine NSWIS players featured in the 19U National Final, where NSW were defeated by Victoria (28-27) in the dying minutes of the game.

Steedman (17 goals) and Lund (10 goals) scored all of the NSW points.

Both talent identification squads will partake in an intensive training camp to help further develop their skills, at the Australian Institute of Sport (July 7-10).

The camp will be conducted by Australia’s national coach Jill McIntosh and AIS netball coaching staff.

The NSWIS Netball Program is the state’s flagship program for 23 elite young netballers.

Last year’s squad achieved an illustrious feat by claiming the Division 1 and 2 titles in the State League titles.

Managed by Head Coach Lisa Beehag (Assistant National Netball Coach) and Regional Coach Margaret Corbett, the 2001 squad contains its highest ever proportion of regional athletes (eight in total).

NSWIS scholarship athletes have access to year-round intensive training, high level coaching support and a broad range of services that include: sports science testing, strength & conditioning and nutritional advice.

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