Wollongong’s Premier League Netball team, South Coast Blaze, are looking to make their mark on the international stage, competing in the Australia-Fiji Quad Series set to kick off today at Vodafone Arena in Suva, Fiji.
In a bid to enhance the prominence of Australian Sport in the Pacific region, Netball Australia in partnership with the government-funded PacificAus Sports (PAS) program and Netball Fiji, extended the exclusive invitation to the South Coast side, marking the inaugural inclusion of a local netball team in such a significant global event.
The unique opportunity is one that Head Coach, Marji Parr, believes will act as a valuable platform for player development, as they showcase their skills and values, whilst propelling Wollongong onto the global sporting map.
“We’re very fortunate to have been nominated for this opportunity and I’m extremely grateful and excited that we got the chance to expose our Blaze players to the different playing styles and cultural immersion here in Fiji,” Parr said.
“This experience is a once-in-a-lifetime thing; they get to see parts of the community and experience the Fijian environment and culture as well as work with some of the best international players and coaching staff in the world.
“To be able to showcase our own culture and values on an international level is really special and it’s really great for our club.”
The experience of playing against the Fiji Pearls National Squad will provide the team with exposure to a professional sporting environment, an opportunity that South Coast Blaze Co-Captain, Abbey McFadden, said will not go unappreciated by the players.
“The fact that we get to participate in this is crazy, we’re playing against high-level athletes on an international scale and it’s something that definitely doesn’t come around every day,” she said.
“To represent Australia and showcase Wollongong’s talent and the young aspiring athletes we have here, it’s incredible.
“We worked really hard in the lead-up to the Australia-Fiji Quad Series and everyone put in their 100 per cent, so we can’t ask for anything else.
“It was an amazing opportunity for all of us to develop and adapt to different players and play that we haven’t worked with before at home, so we’ve all learned something we’ll bring back with us.”
The South Coast Blaze are set to kick off their campaign against Fiji Black at 4:30 PM (AEST) today, October 11, with the tournament extending until October 14.
For further information and updates, visit the IMB South Coast Blaze Facebook page.