Auckland’s Under-15 Girls’ team heads down to Whanganui today to defend their national tournament title.
The squad was selected from performances at the District Tournaments last month, as well as a number of the players putting in strong showing for their club teams.
Coaches Lauren Down and Arlene Kelly are already impressed by the girls’ work ethic.
“They’re a really good side, they practice hard and they’re building well as a team,” says Down.
“Some of the players have been to the tournament before, but for about half it’ll be their first experience of representing Auckland.”
The team will play their first match tomorrow afternoon, then two games on both Wednesday and Thursday, before their final match on Friday.
Kelly is a first-time coach of the Under-15s, and she is looking forward to the tournament as much as the players.
“We’re defending champions, so we want to keep hold of the title, but it’s also important that we focus on player development.”
Kelly and Down see the tournament as the first step to higher honours for the girls – particularly the new players.
“They’ll be part of a tour, essentially, and all the things which come with that,” says Kelly.
“It’s a lot of fun, and it’s hard work, and hopefully it’s a great experience for them, whatever the result.”
Auckland Under-15 Girls’ squad:
Anna Browning (Harbour)
Hannah Burns (Manukau)
Isabella Gaze (Harbour)
Issy Gerrand (Central)
Lucinda Hollister (Western)
Breearne Illing (Central)
Emma Irwin (Eastern)
Kate Irwin (Eastern)
Brooke James (Harbour)
Frances Jonas (Central)
Isabelle O’Connell (Central)
Shivani Unka (Central)
Lydia Battin (Central)
Natalie Brook (Central)
Kate Craig (Central)