By Sam Watson

WONTHAGGI Power star Zali Anderson has been selected for the Victorian 19 and Under state netball side.

Twelve of the best 19 and Under netballers from around the state will head to Hobart in July to take on the best young players in the country.

And Anderson couldn’t be more excited for the occasion, after missing out on the 17 and Under team two years ago.

“It’s a massive honour (to be selected) and I’m really looking forward to it all,” Anderson said.

Despite performing well in the trainings and trials prior to the squad being announced, the Kongwak local wasn’t sure if she’d make the final cut.

“I was so nervous. There was a lot of talent in the state squad before they cut it down,” Anderson said.

She was a training partner for the same team last year as a bottom ager, which gave her the foot in the door she needed to make the final squad in 2021.

And although Anderson admits she’s a bit anxious about how she and the side will go come July, she is confident the side will gel before heading over the Bass Strait.

“Hopefully, after all of our training, we can develop some connections and I hopefully go alright.”

Although she was nervous about being selected, playing netball at an extremely high level isn’t something Anderson worries too much about.

“I feel like I just play netball because I enjoy it, and wherever it takes me, it takes me,” she said.

“I suppose I just take it day by day.”

Anderson was ecstatic when she made the state team, but the mid-court player admitted a different netball venture was what she’s most proud of.

Recently, Anderson was selected for the Collingwood Magpies Nest Academy Program.

After again performing well in the try-outs, she made the final team, and now gets to train at the Holden Centre under the guidance of high-level coaches at the Magpies.

When the Magpies Suncorp Super Netball side needs players for a practice match, the Nest Academy is where they look, and a couple of Anderson’s teammates already got their chance to play with the best senior netballers in the country.

Practice matches are now concluded, but a chance for Anderson won’t be too far away as she’s the equal youngest player in the academy.

A chance to train with Magpies stars such as Geva Mentor and Ashleigh Brazill will certainly hold her in good stead with her future endeavours.

In terms of her development as a youngster, Anderson gave much of the credit to Wonthaggi Power, including veterans and coaches such as Courtney Blair and Fiona Cengia.

She was very grateful for her stints at the Southern Fusion and Gippsland Storm as a junior.

And in recent years, an opportunity with the Boroondara Express in the Victorian Netball League certainly prepared her to take the next step approaching her early 20s.

After being voted in by her peers at Wonthaggi, the young gun also has A Grade captain to add to her resume and she believes the young side is improving every week.

“It’s looking really positive, we’ve lost our first three games, but they’ve all been against quality opposition and each time we haven’t lost by very much,” Anderson said.

“Hopefully we can get a few wins on the board from now on.”