SHOALHAVEN netball duo Elecia Parrott and Sean Gray have helped their NSW open mixed side claim the silver medal at the recent Australian Championships in Melbourne.
The pair was named in the NSW side in November, giving them months for prepare for the April 21-27 tournament.
"Preparation leading into the tournament was vital," Sanctuary Point product Parrott said.
"I was taking extra care of myself, making sure I was giving myself the best opportunity to perform my best on and off the court and represent my state with pride.
"I made sure I kept my nutrition levels up and maintained my load management, as well as looking after and treating myself with a few massages to relax and help my body recover.
"During this preparation I felt confident and was excited of what was to come."
NSW opened their tournament at Casey Courts with a 47-32 against South Australia, before defeating Victoria 49-36 later in the day.
Day two saw NSW have a bye in the morning, before smashing Western Australia 47-28 in the evening.
But NSW's winning streak ended in round five, when they went down 51-28 to Queensland - before rebounding to defeat South Australia 61-38 later in the day.
NSW ended their pool games with a loss to Victoria (47-36), a bye, a win against Western Australia (56-36) and a loss to Queensland (52-31).
These results booked NSW a qualifying finals berth, which they lost to Queensland 57-39.
However NSW ensured they secured a spot in the decider by defeating Western Australia 49-37 in the preliminary final - setting up another clash with Queensland.
"When we got the opportunity to play in the grand final, every single one of us knew we had it give it our all, and leave nothing in the tank," Parrott said.
"We went in strong, with all guns blazing and put everything we got into that match.
"But unfortunately Queensland were strong competitors from the start and made our battle a little bit more challenging.
"They were not going down without a fight, and that's exactly what they produced - the game was a cracker.
"Even though we did go down in the end by eight (49-41), it was still an amazing experience for us all.
"To finish with a silver medal is a massive achievement for the team as a whole.
"It's was an incredible journey to get there with lots of blood sweat and tears.
"It would have been ideal to top off the week taking home the gold, but we will just have to save that for next year."
From a personal point of view, the former Nowra High School student hopes this experience, which she rates as one of her best, helps take her game to the next level.
"Personally I believe I played quite consistently strong throughout the whole tournament and although there were highs and lows, I managed to maintain my mental and physical strength and solider on," Parrott said.
"This is definitely up the top of my personal achievements and definitely an unforgettable experience.
"Thanks has to be given to my team - all of them took me under their wing as I was a rookie and the baby of the team.
"They welcomed me with open arms and encouraged me to be the best I could.
"I do not think I could have asked for a better experience without all the support of my team, the rest of the NSW squad and all my family and friends from home, cheering me on along the way."
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One of those team mates Parrott, who played WD, C, and WA, alludes to is fellow Shoalhaven product Gray.
"I personally have to thank Sean Gray, as he inspired me to trial," she said.
"If it weren't for him, I wouldn't have taken the court alongside the other 11 incredible people in the NSW mixed open team for 2019.
"Plus, to have him standing by my side wearing the blue holding the silver medal was pretty incredible to say the least.
"Growing up I always looked up to Sean as he created his own journey and concurring his dreams and fears - I thank you so much Sean for just being you."
Parrott has now shifted her attentions to her second season with the GWS Fury in the Netball NSW Premier League under 20s competition - which tip-off on Wednesday, May 29 against the Sutherland Stingrays.
"This year will consist of me challenging and pushing myself to new limits, to become stronger and fitter," she said.
"My spark for netball is always shining bright but after coming home from mixed nationals championships, the spark is firing - driving me to aim high and never look back.
"My next step to reaching my end goal and playing in the green and gold dress would to make an Australian Netball League team for 2020.
"But I'm just taking one day at a time and appreciating every opportunity that is thrown my way."