Bunbury netballers to represent Under 17s and 19s state sides

Ready: Netballers Riley Culnane, Jessica Repacholi, Brooke Repacholi, Ella Taylor, Brooke Gibson and Giselle Taylor with coach Michelle Willsher.
Ready: Netballers Riley Culnane, Jessica Repacholi, Brooke Repacholi, Ella Taylor, Brooke Gibson and Giselle Taylor with coach Michelle Willsher.

Seven Bunbury netballers have scored a golden opportunity by working hard and playing fair. 

Five players – Riley Culnane, Ella Taylor, Brooke Gibson, Brooke Repacholi and Giselle Taylor – have been selected for Western Australia’s Under 17s netball side for this year’s National Championships. 

Meanwhile, Jessica Repacholi and Harmony Sutherland were picked for the Under 19s squad. 

The players will compete with netballers from across the state, against people from across Australia, in Adelaide from April 8. 

Culnane was thrilled to be representing her state on the national level. 

“It is a proud moment – after all the hard work that we put in during the off season and pre-season it feels really good to be selected and reach another milestone in our careers,” she said. 

“It is going to really good to see the other states and see what they have in store for us.

“We have got a really tight connection, a few of us have been together for three or four years in a row now so it’s exciting to be together for another year.” 

Culnane, set to take up the U17 WA team’s defender role, is getting ready for an intense training schedule ahead of the competition.

“Over the next few months, we’re going to be training vigorously as a team to build our on-court and off-court connections and work to prepare for nationals,” she said. 

The team will be working on conditioning, strategy and skills leading up to the tournament. 

The selection process saw hopefuls train from September to November last year.

“It was cut down from a squad of 60 to 30 and then to 15...so each time it got smaller and the work got harder,” she said.

Under 18s Souwest Jets coach Michelle Willsher said it was pleasing to see such a high number of South West players in the state sides. 

“We have got quite a strong contingent from the South West, we take 12 away and five of those are from the South West,” she said. 

“It’s good for the girls to have that support and to travel together.” 

Ms Willsher encouraged everyone to support the sport and give netball a go. 

“I have been coaching for about 25 years and, for me, it’s always been about being involved in developing life skills for young girls and then young women,” she said. 

“You might start with some of them at 10 or 11 and then see some of them play senior state or senior Souwest Jets netball in their twenties.

“You really get to be a part of who they become.” 

The Bunbury netball season is beginning to heat up, with Souwest Jets trials wrapping up last weekend. 

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