Top three or bust as Dray's opens side return to scene of 2013 triumph

CENTRE OF ATTENTION: Tegan Dray is hoping her Orange team can match last year's third place effort at the 2014 Netball NSW State Championships this weekend. Photo: STEVE GOSCH 0804sgnet1

CENTRE OF ATTENTION: Tegan Dray is hoping her Orange team can match last year's third place effort at the 2014 Netball NSW State Championships this weekend. Photo: STEVE GOSCH 0804sgnet1

ORANGE centre Tegan Dray said Orange has one goal ahead of the 2014 Netball NSW Open State Championships, at Campbelltown and Camden - to match, or better last year’s performance.

No easy feat considering Orange finished third in the championship division and took home the Pat Weston OAM Country Champions cup as the highest finishing country team.

“We have pretty much the same team,” she explained.

“And a few of the top teams from last year aren’t competing which helps our chances. Look, winning the whole thing would be incredible but we’re aiming for a top-three finish at this stage, and to win the [Pat Weston] cup again.

“It’s a bit nerve-racking without those teams in a way, it means we play some sides we don’t know anything about. I guess it’s just that sense of the unknown.”

Orange’s campaign suffered a blow on Thursday evening, with gun goal shooter Chloe Madden being ruled out of the competition. She will be replaced by Life Studio circle player Em Callaway.

“Unfortunately Chloe went into hospital with a gall bladder issue,” Dray explained.

“But luckily Em stuck her hand up and is coming along. We don’t lose much, if anything at all, with that change. Petrina Allen [Orange’s coach] is also going to act as another reserve for us.

“We’re all pretty flexible though in terms of changing positions, and we play together and against each other a lot.

“We know each other’s games which I think is a huge advantage.”

Dray said she will play the traditional distributing centre role, and said her big game experience puts her in good stead to perform well.

We play plenty of netball, but we’re all pretty flexible position wise so we can rotate,” she said.

“Personally I’ll be looking to stay calm, and keep the girls around me calm. I need to take good options, and more than anything make sure I’m helping out in both attack and defence.”

Orange’s state championships campaign kicks off on Saturday morning against Gosford.

ORANGE: Narelle Taylor, Sheryll Selwood, Amanda Hurford, Tegan Dray, Jacky Lyden, Erin Johnstone, Mardi Aplin, Sophie Beer, Danielle Turner, Em Call;away, Petrina Allen.

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