CLAWS STALWART: Keanna Hopkins in action for the Claws in the last of her 14 seasons for the CQ State Netball League side last year.
CLAWS STALWART: Keanna Hopkins in action for the Claws in the last of her 14 seasons for the CQ State Netball League side last year. Chris Ison Rokcnetball

Keanna picked for international indigenous sporting carnival

ROCKHAMPTON has produced some outstanding netball talent and that undoubtedly includes Keanna Hopkins.

Having played for the Claws for 12 consecutive seasons, first making the CQ State Netball League side when she was just 14, Keanna felt this season it was time to let other talented youngsters take to the Claws court and graciously stepped aside.

But you couldn't keep the goal defender off the court as she helped Frenchville Brumbies A grade make the semi-finals of the Senior A division netball competition this season.

Representative honours were never far away.

"I took this year off from the Claws," Keanna explained.

"I just needed a break. I have been playing and training with the Claws since I was 14. I will admit it was a lot different then, and while it has been fantastic, it has been a long time.

"I love that this season so many talented young players have come through and it makes me think it was the right time to step aside.

"But I do miss playing at that level."

And now she has her chance, because Keanna has been selected in the Australian Indigenous Netball side to contest the Challenge of the Nations carnival, which starts in Brisbane tomorrow.

Now in its second year, the carnival will be contested between the Aussie indigenous girls and teams from Maori New Zealand, Tahiti, Tonga, Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Samoa.

"I have missed playing at a high level which is why I jumped at the opportunity to play at this international carnival."

But there is a catch. The carnival will be played on outdoor courts at Macgregor and that makes Keanna a little nervous.

"That is a bit nerve wracking," Keanna confided.

"I haven't played on outdoor courts for some time. It is much harder on your joints. As a defender you often throw yourself into positions where you can come off second best.

"Indoors, if you fall over you bounce back up.

"Outdoors, we are talking the chance of leaving some skin on the court."

No doubt Keanna is willing to shed some blood for her country.

And following in her footsteps is her younger cousin Tylin Guthrie, 11, who was named Frenchville Sports Club 2015 Junior Netball Player of the Year in just her first season with the club.

And she backed that up with selection in the Under-12s Queensland Schoolgirls Indigenous netball team. The young goal attack will compete at the National Schoolgirls Championship in January.



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