MARDI Aplin knows how good Orange’s opposition will be in this weekend’s HeartKids Cup and as such, was modest about her team’s chances.
“We’ll definitely be very competitive,” she said.
In reality, Orange goes into the charity tournament as red hot favourites.
2014 is the third year the tournament, which raises money and awareness for the HeartKids foundation, has run and Orange has walked away from the previous two competitions with silver medals.
In the first HeartKids Cup, played in 2012 as a one-off, city versus country exhibition game, Orange lost to rivals Sydney rivals Baulkham Hills 64-31.
Last year, Orange finished second to the undefeated NSW 23 years and under men’s team.
With last year’s champions not attending, and several of Orange’s Sydney rivals potentially losing players to state duty, Aplin and her teammates’ chances of victory become much more pronounced.
“Baulkham Hills are our main competition,” Aplin said.
“But Illawarra are a Waratah Cup team, and Canberra and Tuggeranong both play first division in Canberra, so they’ll be tough.”
Sophie Kloosterman will make her HeartKids Cup debut for Orange, while Jacky Lyden makes a long awaited return to the representative scene.
“Sophie brings a different dynamic to the team,” Aplin said.
“Her and Jacky can play both ends of the court, which is important. We have a very versatile line up, which we need against teams like our opposition, who have a lot of height, agility and speed.”
For the first time, the competition has been split into divisions, and Orange will line up against Baulkham Hills, Illawarra, Tuggeranong, Canberra and the ACT 19s and 21s in division one.
Keeping with the country feel, Orange native Charlotte Jasprizza will play for Baulkham Hills, for some of the games.
“Charlotte is going to play one game for Orange,” Aplin said.
“Against Baulkham Hills. That is our traditional game, and has been a city versus country clash since the competition started. So we’ll keep it that way, but Charlotte will represent Baulkham in all the other games.”
Three games will be played on Saturday, starting at 1pm. Sunday then sees five games played, starting at 8.30am. The draw is set to be confirmed this morning.
The LifeStudio Netball Clinic precedes the tournament on Saturday morning, and still has places available for players aged 6-16. If you are interested, contact Mardi Aplin on 0416 112 885 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to lock in your place.
❏ ORANGE: Mardi Aplin, Erin Taylor, Katie Eslick, Sophie Kloosterman, Amanda Hurford (nee Rouse), Tegan Dray, Jacky Lyden, Kellie Watson, Sophie Beer, Sheryll Selwood.
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THE HeartKids Cup’s rapid expansion is set to continue even further this weekend. The competition has already gone from six teams in 2013 to 12 this year, potentially 13.
Orange is set to enter a second team into this weekend’s event, to compliment its champion State League team which competes every year.
Tournament organiser Mardi Aplin said she is waiting on a handful of players to confirm their availability but is expecting Orange B to become the sixth team in division two of the competition.
Orange B would compete against the second division teams from Baulkham Hills, Illawarra, Canberra and Tuggeranong, along with the ACT under 17s.