Girls contributing well at netball tournament

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Two local girls are performing strongly for the Dunedin under-17 team at the New Zealand Under-17 National Netball Championships in North Harbour.

Merekite Wahitapu and Jennifer O’Connell were selected for the team on the back of strong performances at the trials in May.

The team has made a perfect start at the tournament so far, winning their opening three games, and look set to make it through to the top 16 as the top qualifier from their pool.

First up for the team on Monday was Auckland 3, who the side comfortably defeated, winning 55-21, with O’Connell featuring prominently in the shooting circle.

Next up, it was Thames who they dispatched 55-23, before yesterday morning’s game against Wanganui, in which they prevailed 38-26.

Wahitapu said the team had been working well together.

“It’s only the early stages but we are happy with how we are travelling and definitely feel we can make a push deep in the tournament,” she said.

Back in Oamaru, Wahitapu occupies the the goal attack bib for her St Kevin’s team, however at this tournament, she has been selected in the mid-court, while O’Connell has been used solely as a shooter.

“It’s a bit of a change. It’s a bit quicker being involved with the mid-court but I do enjoy it,” Wahitapu said.

She wasn’t required in yesterday morning’s game, but she is confident she will play in the side’s next match.

“I am pretty sure I will get a run this afternoon. The coach was just giving everyone in the squad a game or two before she finalises her top side,” Wahitapu said y.

Fitness is something the girls will draw on to help get them through and Wahitapu said the mood in the camp at the moment was a happy one.

“We feel in great shape at the moment and are confident our bodies will be able to handle the more physical games,” she said.

By BRAYDEN LINDSAY

PHOTO: BRAYDEN LINDSAY – Merekite Wahitapu has played an important role in the team’s wins to date.