Four Goulburn netballers were recently named in the new South Coast Blaze Talent Identification Squad.
Goulburn District Netball Association coaching coordinater, Maree Blake-Dyke, said Kaelah Cave, Ashley Blake-Dyke, Becky Ford, and Chloe Regterschot were "beside themselves" when they heard the news.
The South Coast Blaze is a new franchise in the Netball NSW Premier League, and has selected 49 players between the ages of 14 to 18 for its Talent Identification Program.
The program will span eight training sessions, with timing to be confirmed once the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided.
It will include coaching from former professional players including former Sydney Swifts stars Nat Behl (nee Sloane) and Kimberlee Gilmour, and former UK Netball Superleague player, Donna Fearon.
Blake-Dyke said it was a huge opportunity for the Goulburn girls to receive extremely high-level coaching and make lasting connections.
"The intensity of the program and the knowledge they have access to there's no way we would be able to do because we're a regional association," she said.
"It's also about meeting other players from other regions.
"They are all really excited, and they're really happy that all four of them are able to go.
"They can all have this experience together and bring it back to the association, which is only going to help our local competition."
This will not be the first time the players have experienced high-level coaching, as three of them were previously selected as players in the South East Sports Academy, while two were also selected in the SESA as umpires.
Due to the high number of attendees at the trials last month, the squads have been split into seniors and juniors.
Ashley and Kaelah (both 17) along with Becky and Chloe (both 15) have been named in the senior squad, and Blake-Dyke thanked the Blaze for giving players from Goulburn the chance.
"It's good for South Coast Blaze to be so inclusive and give Goulburn players that opportunity," she said.
The opportunity is valuable for more than just those selected. A regional association like Goulburn does not have as big a player pool as those in Sydney or more heavily populated areas, and it can sometimes struggle to achieve representation in higher-level squads.
To have four players in a single squad is a huge achievement, Blake-Dyke said, one which the girls value greatly.
"The girls will grab it with both hands," she said.
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