Local duo make Dunedin U17 side

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Waitaki Girls’ High School student Jennifer O’Connell and St Kevin’s College’s Merekite Wahitapu have been selected for the Dunedin under-17 netball team following trials at the Edgar Centre on Monday.

Despite being selected last year, O’Connell said she was surprised by the call-up.

“I definitely didn’t expect it because every trial is different, but it was exciting.”

The 16-year-old’s schedule is already bursting at the seams with netball commitments and playing games for Waitaki Girls’ and her Southern club side in Dunedin on Saturdays, but practice makes perfect, and improving her game remains the priority.

“I just want to keep working hard and trying to improve,” she said.

“I want to get my shooting percentage up. I’m more of a shooter now, so I’m working on that.”

Wahitapu was also surprised to make the cut following some stiff competition at the trial.

The 17-year-old had to acclimate to a new role but still managed to produce a strong enough performance to be selected.

“I was surprised. It was a tough trial,” she said.

“I had a doubt that I’d made the team because I didn’t trial that well.

“I moved positions from Goal Attack to Wing Attack, so it was just getting used to that because I hadn’t played there in a while.”

The SKC student is now looking to improve any weaknesses in her game and has set her sights on making the national age groups set up later this year.

“I need to work on more decisive movement on coming off the line on a centre pass and work on my fitness and skills to try and make the national age groups later in the year,” she said.

The duo will be in action for the Dunedin team on Queen’s Birthday Weekend.

By JAMES FORD

PHOTO: FILE – St Kevin’s College’s Merekite Wahitapu has been selected for the Dunedin under-17 team.