Locals to clash in Aussie

BY DANIEL RICHARDSON
Last updated 00:00 30/04/2010

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Jessica Clarke might have missed out on the New Zealand secondary schools team, but she'll have the chance to show the selectors what they missed out on when she plays for the Aotearoa Maori side.

The Palmerston North Girls' High School defender is one of three Manawatu players selected in the Maori team that will go to the International Schoolgirls Netball Challenge in Adelaide next month.

The other teams at the tournament will be School Sport Australia, Indigenous School Sport Australia, Malaysian team Bukit Jalil Sports School – and New Zealand.

Tu Toa's Rhiarna Ferris and Paku-Jane Brown were the other Manawatu players selected, while Girls' High's Hapai Selby-Law was named as a non-travelling reserve.

For Clarke, who turns 17 today, it is the first time she has been selected for a national side.

"It's good. Kind of like a second opportunity with equally capable people," she said. "I'm just looking forward to the trip."

The tall goal keep said she was disappointed she wouldn't be forming her schoolyard defensive combination on the international stage with Selby-Law, who was deemed too short.

"Hapai's a phenomenal player, and it's just unfortunate a lot of the selection is based on height."

They will meet Tu Toa shooter Brooke Leaver, who is in the New Zealand schools team, and Clarke said she couldn't wait to get over there.

"Hopefully I'm not benching it too much," she laughed.

The team will be coached by Margaret Foster and assisted by Mary-Jane Araroa.

The New Zealand schools team is the defending champion.

Team and home regions: Paku-Jane Brown (Ikaroa ki te Raki/Tairawhiti), Ariana Cable-Dixon (Tainui), Jessica Clarke (Ikaroa ki te Raki), Ngawai Eyles (Tainui), Rhiarna Ferris (Ikaroa ki te Raki), Huia Harding (Aotea), Phoenix Karaka (Tamaki Makaurau), Lyddia Moke (Waiariki), Te Reo Paki (Aotea), Greer Patterson (Aotea), Stephanie Rolfe (Aotea), Kirra Taane (Tainui).

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- The Manawatu Standard

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