Former Swifts player and elite NSW pathway coach Nerida Stewart has announced the side she will debut with on the men’s side of the game, revealing her list for the 2021 23s division nationals campaign.
Brodie Blackett-Gregg, Taylor Fraser, Nathan Germech will spearhead the frontline for the light blues, providing versatility and choice for coaches within the shooting circle. “I love what our shooting unit has to offer. Taylor is our high volume long bomber who can shift the momentum of a game in minutes. Then you add young Nathan and Brodie. Nathan dominates the air and plays well above his height with his aerial skillset whilst our country-boy Brodie adds relaxed style with a quiet killer instinct that will make a huge impact during this campaign.” Stewart said .
The mid court is arguably the most talented 23s age side NSW have seen in decades, taking us back to the late 90s when NSW was known as the dominant mid court state and the part of the court they dominated across opens and 23s. It features Jack Vandervelde, Callum Evans, Joe Miller and Cooper Thompson. “How good is our depth of talent in middies. Every one of these players was on the cusp of opens selection which bodes well for the future. Rather than name them individually, all I would say is good luck keeping up with this bunch as a combo. They are dynamic attackers and have that mongrel you really want to see in the contest. I don’t want to say too much more so we can unveil these superstars at nationals. I’m confident that they will cause some big headaches for the other states.” Stewart said.
The defensive unit features Victor Nikolic, Callum Price, Kooper Martin and Jack Thomas. Another cohort touted as future opens combinations after further development within the 23s Program. “As a coach I’m always looking for potential as much as I am talent. It’s very exciting as a coach to have an opportunity to work with players who have a good baseline of talent and boy does our defensive unit have that!
Victor’s netball career is just getting started and he will no doubt be at the forefront of all the big assignments within the game – so we want to build his battle skills and add more to his toolkit to combat anything thrown at him. Jack Thomas and Callum Price caught the attention of coaches and selectors last year, both identified as shut down players and great contributors to possession gains. Our newbie Kooper Martin emerged at trials as a multi position defender that could become a deadly utility with a strong attacking game in transition.” Stewart said.
Echoing the thoughts of the Opens coach and her media release, Stewart said that she and her fellow coaches had picked their sides with a long term vision, previewing the future talent nipping at the heels of this side. “Our coaching group have their sights set high for the 2021 campaign and ahead – multiple titles in the same year for several years to come. This is the type of success we are planning and working towards. I know I’ve got the talent to give that title a red hot go in 23s, and looking beyond that this side could be the core of a dominant future opens side. To achieve what we are setting out to do, we will need to get the commitment form our athletes towards our high performance plan. Player buy in is a major contributor in creating new standards for our state program and will assist the group in achieving the results that we haven’t had for some time. After chatting with the group I am so excited to see these boys own that, and breakthrough to new heights for our state program.” Stewart said.