Australia and New Zealand release Under 21 squads

BOTH Australia and New Zealand have released their Under 21 squads ahead of the Netball World Youth Cup expected to take place in 2021, with some familiar and exciting names amongst the ranks for both countries.


Coached by Kylee Byrne there is no shortage of excitement looking at the Australian Under 21s squad which is filled with speed and tenacity. Taking the reins in 2020 for the Sunshine Coast Lightning, Byrne is accustomed to the high expectations and will be keen to make the most of her options in the shooting circle and in defence.

It is fair to say that South Australian Georgie Horjus has taken the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) competition by storm, quickly becoming a fan favourite thanks to her long bomb shooting, clever drives and spatial awareness. On the shorter side, Horjus uses her speed to dart around the court and has proven to be unfazed by the physical nature of SSN. Fellow South Australian goaler Nyah Allen has showcased glimpses of brilliance, albeit with limited court time. She is a smooth mover and has good composure under pressure. On the other hand, the likes of Matisse Letherbarrow plays more of a holding shooter role, and uses her height to dictate play giving Byrne plenty to work with in inside the goal circle. Mia Stower is another one to keep an eye on while Melbourne Vixens training partner Sacha McDonald is a real playmaker out the front and oozes a sense of calmness and leadership with her decision making.

The Diamonds Under 21 side has speed to burn through the midcourt with the likes of Macy Gardner and Tayla Williams able to dart across the court and have an influence with their give and go. Gardner has steadily built into the 2020 season for the Firebirds while Williams has injected plenty of excitement for the Thunderbirds when on court. Tyler Orr is highly versatile, has a high netball IQ enabling her to adapt quickly to the scenario unfolding and boasts plenty of speed. Melbourne Vixens training partner Allie Smith is another exciting squad member given her ball tracking ability, hands over pressure and skill to swing between wing and circle defence.

West Coast Fever defender, Sunday Aryang has been a revelation in 2020 with her tenacity, cleanliness at the contest and speed off the mark all vital aspects of her game. She brings an element of excitement to the game, able to transition between goal keeper, goal defence and wing credit to her versatility. Matilda McDonell is another livewire in defence for Australia with her leap and hustle on constant display and while Chelsea Blackman has not received a wealth of court time at SSN level but has proven that she can have an impact with her hunt for the loose ball and pressure over the shot.

Sophie Dwyer (NSW)
Matisse Letherbarrow (NSW)
Mia Stower (QLD)
Nyah Allen (SA)
Georgie Horjus (SA)
Sacha McDonald (VIC)
Ruby Barkmeyer (VIC)
Lucy Austin (SA)
Reilly Batcheldor (QLD)
Sloan Burton (WA)
Latika Tombs (NSW)
Macy Gardner (QLD)
Allie Smith (VIC)
Tayla Williams (SA)
Tyler Orr (SA)
Georgia Dent (SA)
Hannah Mundy (VIC)
Leesa Mi Mi (QLD)
Annie Miller (NSW)
Matilda McDonell (NSW)
Chelsea Blackman (SA)
Sunday Aryang (WA)
Clare Iongi (NSW)
Olivia Coleman (NSW)
Sarahpheinna Woulf (QLD)
Gabby Coffey (VIC)
Molly Watson (SA)
Amy Sligar (NSW)


Headed by two-time ANZ Premiership coach Yvette McCausland-Durie, it is fair to say that the New Zealand Under 21s side is in good hands and has a wealth of talent to choose from given the number of athletes that have played throughout the ANZ Premiership season. New Zealand is bursting at the seams when it comes to shooting talent while the midcourt boasts just as much excitement as they look to make it three consecutive titles.

There is a plethora of talent inside the goal circle with Grace Nweke arguably one of the biggest targets thanks to her high volume of shots, strong holds and accuracy to post. she hardly missed a minute of action throughout the ANZ Premiership while teammate Saviour Tui has also been named in the squad. Khiarna Williams burst onto the scene in the 2020 season with her smooth movement, deceptive strength on the hold and aerial ability despite not boasting the height of someone like Nweke. While more accustomed to the goal shooter position, Williams proved she could play out in goal attack which could be handy. Coming off another premiership, Tiana Metuarau is another exciting prospect with her drive, hot hand and composure and having played before in the 2017 Botswana World Cup knows what to expect at this level.

The midcourt is stacked with plenty of speed and talent with youngster Maddy Gordon announced in the Under 21s squad after a phenomenal season, winning the MVP award in the ANZ Premiership grand final and a call up to the Silver Ferns squad. Fellow Central Pulse teammate, Renee Savai’inaea has also been included in the squad with the former defender shaking up her game to play through the centre third and have an impact with her defensive manner. Joining them through the centre is Tayla Earle with the Northern Mystics midcourter no stranger to the big stage, racking up the minutes throughout the ANZ Premiership season and starring with her high work rate and clever feeds into the circle.

Defensively the likes of Taneisha Fifita oozes athleticism and tenacity with the goal keeper not afraid to put her body on the line and contest every ball that comes her way, as shown throughout the ANZ Premiership season with the Southern Steel. Nanise Waqaira is another player to keep an eye out for as New Zealand hope to make it three Netball World Youth Cups in a row.

Hannah Glen (Mainland)
Vika Koloto (North)
Tiana Metuarau (Central)
Grace Nweke (North)
Saviour Tui (North)
Khiarna Williams (WBOP)
Tayla Earle (North)
Georgie Edgecombe (WBOP)
Maddy Gordon (Central)
Kate Hartley (South)
Holly Mather (North)
Ainsleyana Puleiata (Central)
Renee Savai’inaea (Central)
Teuila Sotutu (North)
Taneisha Fifita (South)
Paris Lokotui (Central)
Parris Mason (Central)
Greer Sinclair (WBOP)
Carys Stythe (North)
Jessie Taylor (North)
Nanise Waqaira (North)

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3 years ago

[…] season with the duo taking up co-captaincy roles. Youngster Taneisha Fifita, who was named in the Under 21 New Zealand squad, returns with her tenacity and physicality paramount to the way she approaches the game, while […]