Experience counts in Claws squad
THE DOOR is still open for at least one player to be called into the Capricorn Claws 2012 State League squad after coach Barbara Ahmat named nine players after weekend trials at CQ University.
It is never easy to cut down the numbers when so many talented players put their hand up for inclusion but Ahmat had to make the decision and, with many of the squad, has opted for experience.
Six of the nine players named were members of last year's Claws line-up while the vastly experienced Amanda Goody has made the decision to return to representative netball.
Ahmat said the return of Goody is a boost as she will provide know-how in what is an otherwise inexperienced group of goal-shooters.
"She (Goody) came along to a couple of sessions to umpire and was wearing a Claws singlet and so I asked her if she was here to register," Ahmat said.
Goody decided she would offer her commitment and proved herself at the trials on Saturday morning.
Positions in the attacking circle were wide open as the Claws were dealt a shock when the exciting Jacinta James opted not to play in the representative team this year.
"Jacinta decided to withdraw just before the trials," Ahmat said.
While disappointed, the coach can understand why a player is sometimes forced to turn down the opportunity of playing with the top team.
"The Claws is a big commitment," she said.
With all the lifestyle choices available, alongside work and education opportunities, to add a sport where so many hours of dedication is required makes it very hard for young players, something Ahmat said she is aware of.
While so many players are tried and trusted, a couple of young players have done well to force their way into contention.
Longreach's Brooke Mann has been a part of the Claws "train-on" squad for a couple of seasons and is now rewarded for that dedication by being named.
Mann is one of the players Ahmat hopes can do a job for the Claws in the shooting circle this year.
Another to make her presence known is Ella Lawrie.
The mid-court player was one of the stars of the exciting Rockhampton Grammar School team that played in the Rockhampton Leagues Club A-grade and which did well against top opposition in school competitions around Queensland.
With Ahmat's main focus over the next few weeks being to fill the spare shooters role, the composition of the "train on" squad is of interest.
Emerald's Anna Young could get a call with Ahmat awaiting the player to overcome some medical issues.
The talented Tia Konui is a player who has been earmarked for a big future in the sport while Yeppoon's Maddie Ryan is another who would not look out of place if selected.
Sarah Brennan is a young player who has pushed hard in Claws training and could well edge her way into contention for a goal attack position.
With named players coming from Longreach and Emerald as well as Rockhampton, Ahmat said it is likely some of the Claws training sessions will be held at Emerald.
"We are becoming a truly representative side pretty much covering the whole of Central Queensland," she said.
Besides Longreach and Emerald there are players like Liz Egerton, who was originally from Barcaldine and Lawrie from Gladstone.
2012 CAPRICORN CLAWS
Lizzy Egerton (Rockhampton, ex-Barcaldine), Carmen Anderson (Rockhampton), Shanita Smith (Rockhampton), Ella Lawrie (Rockhampton, ex-Gladstone), Keanna Hopkins (Rockhampton), Pearl Hood (Yeppoon), Kira Lee Leo (Yeppoon), Brooke Mann (Longreach), Amanda Goody (Rockhampton)Train-on Squad players: Anna Young (Emerald), Tia Konui (Rockhampton), Maddie Ryan (Yeppoon), Bianca Butler (Emerald), Kiriana Allen (Emerald), Sarah Brennan (Rockhampton), Georgia Staal (Emerald)