OUR CHAMPS: Gympie and Districts Netball Club’s players Matilda Gook, Breanna Pearce and Hannah Ward prepare to take another step towards their professional netball dreams.  Photo: Bec Singh
OUR CHAMPS: Gympie and Districts Netball Club’s players Matilda Gook, Breanna Pearce and Hannah Ward prepare to take another step towards their professional netball dreams. Photo: Bec Singh

The email that changed everything for 3 Gympie netballers

NETBALL: Three aspiring Gympie netballers have achieved a major feat in their careers after being selected in the University of Sunshine Coast Emerging Athletes Program.

Hannah Ward, 14, Matilda Gook, 14, and Breanna Pearce, 17, had a gruelling two-hour session at USC two weeks ago to show their talent and skills, and they each received an email stating their selection.

OUR CHAMPS: Gympie and Districts Netball Club’s players Matilda Gook, Breanna Pearce and Hannah Ward prepare to take another step towards their professional netball dreams.  Photo: Bec Singh
OUR CHAMPS: Gympie and Districts Netball Club’s players Matilda Gook, Breanna Pearce and Hannah Ward prepare to take another step towards their professional netball dreams. Photo: Bec Singh

“I had to read it a few times just to make sure because I was so surprised that I had actually made it,” Breanna said.

“It still has not sunk in and it probably won’t until we have our first training session down there.”

The girls have different training sessions and meet with the assistant coach of the Sunshine Coast Lightning, players of the Lightning and Thunder and other esteemed people once a month for the 12-month program.

Sunshine Coast Lightning players on Mooloolaba Beach ahead of the next game.Laura Langman, Cara Koenen and Laura Scherian ready to take on the Swifts.
Sunshine Coast Lightning players on Mooloolaba Beach ahead of the next game.Laura Langman, Cara Koenen and Laura Scherian ready to take on the Swifts.

Pearce’s Lightning dream is a step closer and she said this program would allow her name to be among the scouts and professionals.

“We get to do different types of training. So we get to go and watch Lightning train,” she said.

“I am not quite sure what we will be doing but we will get insider opportunities.

Gympie and Districts Netball Club - Breanna Pearce. Photo: Bec Singh
Gympie and Districts Netball Club - Breanna Pearce. Photo: Bec Singh

“We get to play with some of the Lightning players and they get to train us. I want to learn more skills out of this program and also theory side of things. I have heaps of coaches but it is a higher level and more elite coach.”

Gook said despite her nerves she was excited about the feedback and tips she was going to receive to improve her game.

Gympie and Districts Netball Club - Matilda Gook. Photo: Bec Singh
Gympie and Districts Netball Club - Matilda Gook. Photo: Bec Singh

“It is going to make me better, I can work with different people,” she said.

“When I go to zone trials and other competitions it will allow me to communicate with people I do not know.

“I want to change my shooting style. I have been trying to change it, so I want to work on that and also get feedback from other coaches.”

Ward played out of position at the trial for the program.

“I did not get the position I wanted to play so I was feeling a bit down because I thought I would not get in.” she said.

Gympie and Districts Netball Club - Hannah Ward. Photo: Bec Singh
Gympie and Districts Netball Club - Hannah Ward. Photo: Bec Singh

“I did not go as well as I hoped I did but I was very surprised to get selected because there were older girls playing who were more experienced.”

The dream of Lightning is alive for Ward and she hopes she can use this program to elevate her skills and play for Australia in the future.