Kurri Kurri netball rep team exceeds state title expectations

STRONG SHOWING: The Maitland Netball Association under-21 and under-17 representative teams. Picture: Michael Hartshorn
STRONG SHOWING: The Maitland Netball Association under-21 and under-17 representative teams. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

Kurri Kurri's netball rep team is still coming down to earth after a stunning performance at the state titles.

The team had set their sights on making the top-10 at the titles, but exceeded all expectations with a top-five finish in division two.

The Maitland Netball Association’s under-21 and under-17 teams also had successful campaigns with the under-21s finishing fourth in the six-team division.

The under-17s finished in the bottom half of their division, but given the majority of their squad were bottom-aged it was a very credible effort.

Newcastle won the state open netball championship with a thrilling one-goal win over title rivals Randwick in the final game of the carnival on Monday in Sydney. Newcastle’s under-21s also won their division.

Jess Stevens

Jess Stevens

Kurri Kurri captain-coach Jess Stevens said it was the best result by Kurri in years.  

“It was an incredible effort by the girls, there were plenty of cheers and celebrations when we finished top-five,” captain-coach Jess Stevens said.

“I’ve been involved with the rep teams for the past 15 years and it’s certainly our best result in that time.

I’ve been involved with the rep teams for the past 15 years and it’s certainly our best result in that time

Kurri Kurri captain coach Jess Stevens

“Apart from a couple of lapses in games and a few bounces of the balls we probably could have finished even higher. There was a draw and a couple of games we probably should have won.”

The Kurri Kurri team’s performance was all the more remarkable as their team was only finalised a week before the titles. They won 11 games and had one draw from their 18 games over the long-weekend.

Stevens said Kiona Sunerton, Alanna Harris and Kathy Anderson came into the team and were crucial players in the team’s outstanding performance.

“Kiona was actually my under-15 coach and she was fantastic, I don’t think I would have continued playing rep if it hadn’t been for her,” she said.

It was a family affair for Stevens, with her sisters Erin and Courtney Davis playing and their mum Debbie, the Kurri Kurri Netball Association president on the sidelines.

The team also featured Chantel McCrohen, Dani Messnger, Amy Howard and Jess Apthorpe, who at 17 was the baby of the team.

“Jess was terrific across the tournament. She overcame a heavy knock and played on,” Stevens said.