Talented teen a high achiever

19:48, Jun 09 2014
alena saili
BUSY: Alena Saili, 15, of Southland Girls High School plays touch, netball and rugby.

"Reality is, she can't fit it all in."

Those were coach Nathan Muir's comments about Alena Saili having to cut back on her sporting commitments this year. She has sacrificed playing basketball. It was a tough decision because she played in the Southland Girls' High School's team that won the South Island secondary schools' junior basketball tournament in Dunedin last year.

The 15-year-old had a hectic sporting schedule last year playing rugby, rugby 7s, netball, touch, volleyball and basketball and competing in athletics.

In the seven days starting at the weekend, Saili's sporting diary read: Saturday, netball game; Sunday, netball training; Monday, rugby game; Tuesday, netball training; Wednesday, volleyball training; Thursday, netball and rugby training; Friday, rugby 7s training.

Muir, who coaches Saili rugby, said the teenager had been a high achiever in sport since arriving at Girls' High.

"She's one of those talented kids that can turn her hand to anything," he said. "She's got good movement skills."


Saili has represented Southland in netball, touch, rugby and volleyball and is in the Girls' High A teams for those sports.

She also coaches a junior netball team at Girls' High.

Rugby and netball, despite ankle injuries, are her favourite sports. "Netball is good fun. Rugby, I like the tackling and getting into it," Saili said.

She was in the Girls' High team that won the plate (finished fifth) at the Condor 7s in Auckland last year. "She was unlucky not to make the tournament team," Muir said.

Saili scored a try for Girls' High in the final against Feilding High School at the New Zealand secondary schools' Top Four Championship in September. Feilding won 29-12.

Making the game more memorable for Saili was that she scored a try and the game was televised on Sky.

The Southland Times