NARRAWALLE’S Grace Sullivan has helped her Illawarra under 17 girls side defend their NSW Country Championships title at the weekend.
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After moving through the 2017 tournament undefeated, the team repeated the effort this time around, comfortably accounting for their rivals throughout the two-day competition.
Manager Lusii Tanevisi said the victory was a result of two years of hard work by all the girls.
“They’re a very strong team,” Tanevisi said.
“They’ve been training and playing together for the last two years, first in the Illawarra Academy and then for Illawarra.
“A good portion of these girls came away to Hong Kong with the sevens.
“It was an impressive performance, they’re a very well structured team.”
The next challenge for the girls will be the NSW State Championships over the June long weekend.
“It will mark the first time an Illawarra girls side will contest a 15-a-side State Championships.
The Illawarra under 17 girls team was joined on the Central Coast by the under 18 boys and, for the first time, the under 15 girls.
The girls experienced a mixed weekend, winning two of their four matches.
Illawarra claimed tight victories over Central Coast and Central West, but fell to Central North and Hunter.
“A lot of the 15s girls had never played before, so to finish equal second with two wins, we’re quite proud and pleased with their result.”
The Illawarra girls were rewarded for their efforts, with numerous players named in Country NSW squads.
Maddison Weatherall, Camelia Lotoaatu, Keeley Kopara, Koniseti Tinao, Sullivan and Viena Tinao were all selected in the under 17s squad, while Sailina Heritage, Lili O’Dea, Angie Tau and Checoby Murray were picked in the under 15s junior development squad.
The boys side struggled, losing the three matches they played throughout the weekend. Illawarra were defeated by Central North, Hunter and Mid North Coast.
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