As part of this year’s Bendigo of Sports North East Netball Academy, Benalla’s Henri Bradley is eyeing development above all else this season.
“I really want to improve as a player, try get a bit further, and do well in the academy,” Bradley said.
Bradley, 13, is also set to take a further step up in her domestic duties, debuting with the Benalla Saints’ in the Goulburn Valley League’s under-15 competition next month.
Alongside her winter season, Bradley’s academy commitments will see her travel to Shepparton for monthly Sunday training sessions, the first of which was held last weekend.
Bradley said the sessions were sure to be a step up for the talented junior, with players exposed to high-performance training for the first time, including medical screenings and expert advice.
After lining up with Benalla Netball’s under-13 squad team last year, Bradley and her teammates trialed for the academy in mid-November alongside more than 80 players.
The Cathedral College student said she had limited her expectations of making the 28-player squad.
“I thought I probably wasn’t going to get it. I didn’t have my hopes up at all,” she said.
“Then mum came and told me, and I was like ‘oh really?’ I couldn’t believe it. It’s a great opportunity.”
Supporting Bradley financially through the academy this year will be the Benalla Young Sportsperson Trust.
Trustee Karen Edwards said she was encouraged by the efforts of Benalla’s junior netball players at last year’s trials.
“You could see with the level of skill (at trials), we (Benalla) were very much on par with the rest of the region,” Edwards said. “Henri’s done really well to shine through and get picked.
“She going to come in front of some magnificent netball coaches and learn so much in this period.
“She’s also playing with that level of player, it’s big step up for her but she’ll get a lot of advantages out of it.
“It’s an exciting time in her netball and it’s great to that the Benalla Young Sportsperson Trust can support her.”