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South Coast Blaze adds three male youth players to TIP

South Coast Blaze has selected three male players to join the South Coast Blaze Talent Identification Program (TIP).

With the aim to find future Men’s Netball NSW (MNNSW) players, South Coast Blaze, in partnership with Kiama Netball Association, Shoalhaven Netball Association and Illawarra District Netball Association, originally put a call out for male players aged 14-18 to trial for the Youth Male Talent Program. Following restrictions around COVID-19 which prevented trials, the male program will merge with the female Talent Identification Program this year, with new session dates to be confirmed in the coming months.

“Even though it is unfortunate that we weren’t able to have trials for the Male Youth Talent Program this year, three applicants were strong enough that we felt it would be remiss not to have them join our female Talent Identification Program. Our purpose is to provide elite pathways for netball players on the South Coast, so having skilled male players join our talent program is not only important for their development, it is also important for the development of the sport in our region,“ said Karina Franke, South Coast Blaze Chairperson.

The players that have been selected are: Christian Bownds from Sapphire Coast Netball Association, who will join the Junior Squad, and Mayson Griffith and Thomas Hodgkins from Shoalhaven Netball Association, who will join the Senior Squad.

These three male youth players will join 49 female players who were announced in the Talent Identification Program Junior and Senior Squads last week. The TIP Squads will receive specialist coaching from elite netballers, including former Sydney Swifts stars Nat Behl (nee Sloane) and Kimberlee Gilmour, and former UK Netball Superleague player, Donna Fearon. 

Our Male Youth Talent Program coaches will also still be an integral part of the TIP program with guest coaches including: Blaze Opens Head Coach, Marji Parr; South Coast Blaze Opens Assistant Coach and NSW Men’s Reserve player, Dennis Napara; Blaze Under 23s Assistant Coach and Australian and NSW Men’s Opens player, Eugene Lee; Shoalhaven U17s Rep Coach and NSW Men’s Reserve player, Sean Gray; and Illawarra Opens Rep Coach and former NSW Men’s player, Heath Sangster.