THE netball future appears extremely bright for Woollamia's Emma Keane after she was recently named in the NSW under 17s representative side.
The side's announcement wrapped up months of hard work and trialling for the 12-person squad, which started at the Shoalhaven Indoor Sports Centre in November.
"After successfully getting through phase one, I progressed through stage two's trials in Sydney into stage three," Keane said.
"This phase has 26 girls in it, where we trained and trialled against one another on three occasions before the team was unveiled in March.
"I was totally elated to receive the team list via email and I could not believe I'd made the side.
"I had to check the list multiple times just in case I was wrong - you could not wipe the smile off my face."
Keane's netball journey started as a seven-year-old when she joined in because her friends were playing, which led to her being "hooked".
Since then, the now 16-year-old has had stints with the Jervis Bay Netball Club, Shoalhaven Netball Association representative sides, Illawarra Academy of Sport, Illawarra Metro, NSW emerging talent squad, South Coast Blaze (as a training partner) and Nowra High School side.
All these, as well as regular training with the Amber Cross-coached squad, has helped Keane prepare for July's national titles in Hobart.
"Our state team trains twice a week in Sydney," the IAS 2019-20 Netball Athlete of the Year said.
"This incorporates team culture, skills, nutrition, recovery and match play.
"Another two to three strength and conditioning sessions are required to be completed in our own time."
Keane, once that training wraps up, can't wait to pull on the sky-blue uniform for the first time - alongside teammates Eloise Egan, Eugenie Little, Grace Whyte (all Manly-Warringah), Ana Lupe Kailahi, Jade Dawson, Papi Alaalatoa (all Liverpool City), Allanah Gilbertson, Kyla Thompson (both Baulkham Hills Shire), Amelia Kirgan (Bankstown City), Frederika Schneideman (Randwick) and Millie Tonkin (Newcastle).
"It means the world to me that I can represent NSW," Keane, who credits the commitment of her family to helping her achieve this goal, said.
"It is an amazing opportunity and to finally achieve a long term goal was extremely rewarding.
"I'm also looking forward to the amazing atmosphere and I know it will be a really positive experience.
"The team and coaching staff are absolutely incredible people that bring so much passion to the campaign."
Keane, while in Tasmania, has a number of personal and team goals she'd like to achieve.
"The most important goal of mine is to work hard as an individual and as a team, to give ourselves the best chance of winning the championship," she said.
"By bringing 100 per cent intensity to every training session and game, we will give ourselves the best chance possible."
Keane also hopes this tournament can act as a springboard to her achieving even higher honours in the future.
"Making the under 17s team is such an important stepping stone as I am exposed to players and coaches with incredible knowledge and experience that drives me to perform at the highest quality," she said.
"It also brings me one step closer to playing in the Super Netball and for the Australian Diamonds - both of which are long-term goals on mine."
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