FORMER Leongatha netballer Taylah Brown has made the 17 and Under National Squad and will attend a camp at the Netball Centre of Excellence in Canberra in October.
The squad of 36 was selected on the demonstration of their potential as well as their performances throughout the National Netball Championships in April.
Taylah vice-captained Victoria’s 17 and under side during the six-day tournament, and came home with a silver medal.
She received the news of her selection for the national squad last Monday, with the official announcement made on Wednesday.
Taylah said the news was “very, very surprising” and she feels honoured to have been selected.
“I wasn’t expecting it at all, especially because I did my knee at the National Championships. It was a massive surprise and shock and it still feels weird to think I’ve made it,” she said in between training sessions on Monday night.
Taylah, now 17, has played netball since the age of eight, starting out in the LDNA for 12 months, before progressing to play with the Parrots up until she was awarded a scholarship at the end of 2017 to board and complete Year 12 at Wesley College in Melbourne.
Since moving to Melbourne, Taylah has been playing netball for Wesley’s school team and for Boroondara Express in the Victorian Netball League (VNL).
She says the commitment from her parents Brooke and Cameron Brown, who still attend all of her games, has been a big factor in her success. “They’ve done a lot of Ks and a lot of hours driving to all my competitions. All the support from home, even since I’ve moved to Melbourne, has been really good.”
National selection will make Taylah’s final year of school a “big juggling act” but she’s confident she can tackle the challenge, and that all the hard work will be worth it.
“It will be a massive challenge to keep on top of everything but I’m prepared to do that. I’ve been juggling a lot of things forever. It’s just something you have to do.”
The finer details of what national selection means for Taylah haven’t been made clear at this early stage, with more information from Netball Australia expected to arrive in the mail this week, but Taylah is already preparing to attend the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra from October 1 to 5, where she’ll compete in practice matches against teams from England and New Zealand.
She’ll be training at the Victorian Institute of Sport in Melbourne on Tuesday and Thursday nights, as well as training for her VNL games on Monday nights, playing for Boroondara on Wednesday nights, and playing for Wesley College on Saturdays.
“She just wants to keep ticking boxes and go as far as she can go with netball,” says mum Brooke. “Her goal was to make it onto the Victorian team, and she did that, and now she’s on the national squad, she’ll just keep climbing the ladder and take it as far as she can take it,” she said.
“We’re all extremely proud of her for being able to get to that level, especially as a country girl. Coming from the country means a lot of extra commitment compared to city kids. And we’re rapt with how much the Leongatha community has gotten behind her at every stage,” Brooke says.