Netball visit to benefit players – Rokoura

Fiji Pearls coach Una Rokoura (left) with participant at the Fast 5 clinic and Reilley Batcheldor at the Vodafone Arena on Tuesday. Picture: SOPHIE RALULU

Fiji Pearls coach Unaisi Rokoura says they are embracing the opportunity to learn from elite players and coaches in the Australia Super League in building a team for next year’s Netball World Cup in South Africa.

A cohort of Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) League athletes in Fiji on a one-week tour to conduct school and community clinics, high performance workshops and training with the Fiji Pearls and Fiji’s under-21 side.

The tour will culminate when players from the Adelaide Thunderbirds and Sunshine Coast Lightning join forces with the Fiji Pearls for an exhibition Fast5 match on Saturday.

The contingent is guided by Thunderbirds assistant coach Cathy Fellows.

The timely tour also comes after Fiji’s qualification for the world cup a few weeks ago.

“This week has been very important for us to have the SSN players here,” Rokoura said.

“It is an educational week for the Fiji Pearls, having to learn from overseas player about high performance athletics routine training.

“For the coaching and the management team it is an opportunity to learn off some high profile coaches in Australia to help us build a team for South Africa.”

Netball Australia marketing and development officer Rowan Fajerman said they were working with the Fiji Pearls and the under-21 team with a range of high performance workshops and specialist coaching.

“The coaches are working with both players from Australia and Fiji and they are integrating with each other. So some of the clinics at the moment we have players from both teams working together to run the clinics,” he said.

Meanwhile, Fast5 is a variation of netball featuring shortened games and goals worth multiple points.

The new format was announced by the International Federation of Netball Associations in 2008.

Rokoura said they would love to have Fast5 introduced in Fiji.

“Within the Fiji Pearls training environment we would love to introduce this program. It is a very competitive game itself and very fast,” Rokoura said.

“Our girls would fit in well and also as for us it will be a good opportunity for a preseason leading up to the main opening for the year or any season.

“It will be a great opportunity for us to showcase it on Saturday with the SSN players.”

The exhibition match will be held at 1.3pm on Saturday at the Vodafone Arena in Laucala Bay, Suva.

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