COULD Orange have the best regional State League team in NSW?
We’ll find out this weekend.
Orange will be one of five teams lining up in the inaugural Netball NSW Inter-Regional State League tournament in Sydney.
The Central West State League competition has been dominated by Orange for 18 consecutive years, and each year the winning team has longed for further competition.
Orange A player Tegan Dray said the girls were keen to test themselves.
“We’re pretty excited by this opportunity,” Dray said.
“It’s something Mardi (Aplin) has wanted to do for a long time. It’s been good to think about what we could do if we went that step further.”
Orange will be joined by Coffs Harbour, Glen Innes and Lismore’s open sides as well as the Illawarra 15s team this weekend.
Dray said they knew nothing about their opponents this weekend.
“It’s all unknown,” she said.
“Even the Illawarra 15s, having fresh blood to play against.”
Orange will be serious contenders for the inaugural Inter-Regional title after finishing third at the Netball NSW Open State Championships earlier this year.
Glen Innes should provide a good challenge, as they claimed this year’s division two state title.
Coffs Harbour and Lismore have experience as both had teams in last year’s open championship, where Lismore finished eighth and Coffs Harbour was 15th.
The Illawarra 15s finished fifth at this year’s 15s state age championships.
Orange may have an even tougher opponent they need to overcome.
“The flu bug has hit us,” Dray said.
Orange’s netballers are still in the swing of things after the Orange Netball Association division one grand final was played last Saturday.
Robin Hood came from behind to topple Life Studio 46-44.
“It’s been a long season but we’ve just got this last little one to see how we go,” Dray, who was part of the winning Robin Hood side, said.
“If we do well it could get us excited and enthusiastic for next season.”
Orange will start today with a bye before taking on Coffs Harbour.
They’ll then go up against Illawarra 15s, followed by Lismore.
They will finish the day with a game against Glen Innes.
A five-team finals format will be used tomorrow with the team finishing on top of the ladder after the round-robin games sitting out the first round of finals.
There will then be semi-finals, a preliminary final, a play-off for fourth and the grand final.
ORANGE: Shannen Downer, Tegan Dray, Sophia Kloosterman, Amanda Rouse, Sheryll Selwood, Erin Taylor, Narelle Walsh, Danielle Turner, Kellie Watson, Lauren Williams