Tia’s a veteran on Claws netball squad at 16 years of age
TIA Konui is an exception to the rule.
After impressing once again, Konui was named in Capricorn Claws coach Barb Ahmat's 14-member squad for the 2014 Queensland State Netball League season.
It's the 16-year-old's third pre-season in the state-wide competition, but probably shouldn't be.
Drafted into the Claws development squad as a 14-year-old in 2012, Konui impressed coach Barb Ahmat so much that she applied to Netball Queensland for them to make an exception to the rule.
Current Netball Queensland rules state a player must be turning 16 in that calendar year before they can play in the State League.
"Tia was the youngest ever play to play in a Queensland State League team," Ahmat said.
"When Tia joined up she was only 14, but her strength at training was so damn good that we went to Netball Queensland with her stats and asked them to make an exception."
Two years on and the Glenmore State High student is still the youngest in the Claws squad.
Despite her youth, the goal attack says she doesn't get intimidated by her opponents, some of whom are twice her age.
"I don't really pay attention to their age, I just go and play," she said.
"Everyone gets pushed around. With our training, with Glenn (Hansen) from Vector Health, he helps us with our strength and we learn to work against it."
Joining Konui in the squad for the 2014 season is former Queensland Academy of Sport member Pia Troiani.
Troiani earned a spot in Ahmat's squad for the 2014 season after impressing at the trials on the weekend.
Troiani, a former Wide Bay junior representative player, caught the eye of Ahmat and the Claws selectors during the 2013 Rockhampton Leagues Club A-grade premiership season, before impressing even further in the weekend's trials.
"You can see that she's come up through the QAS and regional training programs; she's got that speed on the court," Ahmat said.
Moura-based Samantha Grimsey returns to the squad after last playing in Claws colours in 2009.
Originally from Biloela, Grimsey moved to Townsville where she played for the Magnetic North Steelcats, but has since returned to Central Queensland.
Brothers Crimson goal shooter Juanita Hill's consistent performances inside the attacking circle in recent years for the premiers earned her the call-up, while Lizzy Egerton also returns to the squad, despite retirement talk at the end of last season.
Egerton will make the journey in from Springsure to train and play for the Claws in 2014.
2014 Capricorn Claws
CLAWS SQUAD: Kira-Lee Leo, Shanita Smith, Kate Lang, Pia Troiani, Rebecca Thompson, Sarah Marsh, Renee Spence, Simone Forbes, Emma Walsh, Keanna Hopkins, Samantha Grimsey, Juanita Hill, Tia Konui, Lizzy Egerton.