The 15&U and 17&U Female National State Championships will herald the return of National State Championships to the Gold Coast as juniors from across the country prepare for their first taste of representative water polo.
With the age groups for the one-off Summer Slam changing earlier in the year, the 15&U age groups offer the next generation of water polo players an opportunity to represent their state.
South Australia 15&U women’s head coach Sarah Fleming has had limited access to interstate competitions and said her team is looking forward to the trip to the Gold Coast.
“The team is really looking forward to traveling to the Gold Coast to compete in the National State Championships,” said Fleming.
“This is a competition the girls have worked very hard towards and they are thrilled to have the opportunity to play as a team for South Australia.
“For many of these girls it will be their first national championship as some of them were unable to compete in the last one due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said.
After weeks of training in South Australia, Fleming said her team was ready for the challenges ahead.
“The training preparations went very well and we also set up a new structured training session with the 15&U boys for this competition,” said Fleming.
“This has allowed us to break down tactics and allow athletes to play games against each other and build team skills.
“We’re looking forward to hopefully some warmer weather in Queensland and for many of us this will be our first time playing water polo on the Gold Coast so we’re looking forward to playing in a new pool,” she said.
Tasmania will also make the long journey up the east coast, but 15&U representative Keeley Saunder said her team is looking forward to it.
“Travelling for competitions is very rewarding for us because we can learn new tactics and gameplay approaches from other states,” said Saunder.
“Our last national competition was very challenging, both physically and mentally, which motivated us to train harder so that we can face these national teams with confidence.
“Our team was also fortunate to be in contact with some of the Aussie Stingers who inspired us to change our mindset to have a positive time on the Gold Coast,” she said.
As for the toughest opposition, Saunder said there is some, but they will be prepared.
“Queensland teams were our toughest competitors at Summer Slam 2022 and will undoubtedly be a tenacious team again,” said Saunder.
“Western Australia are a team we have yet to face which is both nerve wracking and exciting as they will bring a new style of play that we can learn from,” she said.
15&U ACT head coach Don Cameron said the National State Championships are a good opportunity for his team to assess progress during the offseason.
“We’re excited to go up against some challenging opponents to gauge the team’s progress,” said Cameron.
“There was a strong commitment from a core of very motivated players who really stepped up their conditioning and technical preparations.
“The girls have worked consistently hard over the winter and we look forward to bringing that to play on the Gold Coast,” he said.
When it comes to rivals, Cameron said he believes the toughest opponents are those closest to home.
“We believe that we are our own biggest rival,” Cameron said.
“We have to stay positive, follow our game plans, maintain our skill standards and not get too hung up on who we’re playing against.
“We’re hoping for a very competitive event, played in good spirits and enjoyed by everyone, including parents, spectators and officials,” he said.
The 2022 15&U and 17&U Female National State Championships will be held on the Gold Coast from Saturday 27th September to Tuesday 2nd October.
Watch live – log on to www.kommunitytv.com.au
Community TV – Schedule for the 15&U and 17&U Female National State Championships
09:00 U15, NSW Blues v Victoria Navy
10am: U15, WA Gold – QLD Gold
11am: U15s, QLD Maroon-WA Black
Midday: U15, NSW Waratahs – ACT
1pm: U15s, QLD Gold v NSW Blues
2pm: U15, Tasmania – Victoria Navy
3pm: U15, ACT – QLD Maroon
4pm: U15, South Australia – WA Black
08:00 U17, Barbarians Blue – TAS/ACT
9.10am: U17s, NSW Blues v QLD Gold
10:20 U17, South Australia – NSW Waratahs
11:30 am: U17s, QLD Maroon – WA Gold
12:40 p.m.: U17s, WA Black – QLD Gold
1:50pm, U17s, Barbarians Blue v NSW Blues
3pm U17s Victoria Silver vs WA Gold
4:10 p.m.: U17 South Australia v QLD Maroon
08:00 U15, WA Gold – Tasmania
09:00 U15, QLD Gold v Victoria Navy
10am: U17s, WA Gold v South Australia
11.10am: U17s, NSW Waratahs – Victoria Silver
12:20 p.m., final U15, 1st group A – 2nd group B
1:20 p.m. U15 Finals 1st Group B – 2nd Group A
2:20 p.m.: U17 final, 1st Group A vs. 2nd Group B
3:30pm U17 Finals 1st Group B – 2nd Group A
09:30 U15 Bronze Medal: Loser SF1 vs. Loser SF2
10:30 a.m.: U15 gold medal, winner SF1 vs. winner SF2
Midday: U17 Bronze Medal, Loser SF1 vs. Loser SF2
1:10 p.m., U17 gold medal, winner SF1 vs. winner SF2