ACG Parnell College's Senior A Netball team is poised to achieve great things in 2022.
Playing together since 2020, when most players were in Year 11, the team has been going from strength to strength. This year they competed in the Senior B Reserve grade at the Auckland Netball Competition (for only the second time in the school's history) and held the third-place position before the season was cut short by Covid-19.
By the time next season begins, the team will boast a full complement of Year 13 players with plenty of experience playing together, and according to coach Zoe Hughes, they'll be ready to take on anyone.
"Our focus has always been on the 2022 season," says Zoe, who has coached the team since its inception. "Their concentration and drive have improved massively over the past two years. And this has had a positive impact on their skill set and play structure, as well as their relationships both on and off-court.
"The players have been outstanding. They're always willing to receive feedback and take on the challenge to learn new skills. They've exceeded my expectations."
And next year, Zoe is anticipating an even stronger performance.
"My hope for the 2022 season is for the girls to be promoted into a higher grade. And also to use the skills they've been working on to the best of their ability."
Trust, commitment, participation, enthusiasm and motivation have all played a crucial role in the team's success. So too has the girls desire to give back and support the netball community they've become a part of over the past years.
Six members of the Senior A team (along with two Senior B team players) put their hands up this year to coach and umpire younger teams, developing some excellent leadership skills in the process.
"Leadership is an important value of ACG Parnell College," says Sports Coordinator Steph Trowill. "We encourage our students to seize every opportunity available to them so they can shine and flourish."
It's an excellent learning opportunity for the younger players they're mentoring and supporting too.
"As coaches, the girls have led by example, inspiring many who are just starting on their netball journeys. It gives these younger students an insight into what it takes to play for the Senior A side. This year, our Year 9 and Year 10 teams each had two players make their debuts for the Senior A team at some point during the season."
Meanwhile, those who stepped up for umpiring were also to be commended.
"I have high respect for anyone wanting to give umpiring a go because of the 'noise' that can come from the opposition and spectators. But, despite this, our student umpires courageously and confidently went about their jobs. As Sports Coordinator, it is something I am extremely grateful for as every team has to supply an umpire for their matches."