GLADSTONE PRIDE: Back - L-R: Open's coach Tracey Davis, U17s coach and Open's player Kacie Crawford, Jessica Craig, Melanie Dyball, Abbi Cooper, Katie Jacobsen, Keely Dillon, Olivia Whitla, Samarah Belton, Eden Johnson Front - L-R: U17s - Anna Morgan, Gracie Moore, Jessie Singh, Hannah Williams, Courtney Fitzsimmons, Georgia Stains, Taylor Laing. Absent: Amy Harte, Annonment Massey, Zali Eckle, Cori Gilliland, Olivia Morgan.
GLADSTONE PRIDE: Back - L-R: Open's coach Tracey Davis, U17s coach and Open's player Kacie Crawford, Jessica Craig, Melanie Dyball, Abbi Cooper, Katie Jacobsen, Keely Dillon, Olivia Whitla, Samarah Belton, Eden Johnson Front - L-R: U17s - Anna Morgan, Gracie Moore, Jessie Singh, Hannah Williams, Courtney Fitzsimmons, Georgia Stains, Taylor Laing. Absent: Amy Harte, Annonment Massey, Zali Eckle, Cori Gilliland, Olivia Morgan. Contributed GLA160519CQPL

A premier challenge for Gladstone's open and youth teams

NETBALL: Gladstone will field two strong teams for the first round of the Queensland Premier League in Bundaberg on the weekend.

The opens and under-17 teams play Caloundra on Saturday at 2.10pm and 3.20pm respectively.

Gladstone opens then play Nambour at 8am on Sunday followed by Sunshine Coast at 11.30am while the U17s take on Nambour at 9.10am on the same day.

Experienced Olivia Whitla will be in her third QPL campaign and says the bulk of the side play together on Tuesday nights in the Gladstone Netball Association competition.

"The key strength is that the majority of the team play for Yaralla Falcons and we know how each other play," she said.

"Jessica Craig and Kacie Crawford play for other teams."

Whitla said Gladstone has a good mix of youth and experience.

"We have young players like Keely Dillon and Abbi Cooper and Amy Harte comes back and she is experienced who can play at both ends," Whitla said.

"The teams were selected back in February and March and we had our last hit-out on Monday."

Whitla said she is also excited to see how the talented Gladstone U17 team will fare.

QPL convenor Samantha Dippel said the Gladstone players will benefit from the experience against strong southern opposition.

"It is exciting times to be given the opportunity to play the southern teams and a chance for umpires, coaches and officials to get a taste of a different competition," she said.

"The development opportunity for our players will be so beneficial for their game and experience."

Gladstone now falls in the zone three section which falls between Rockhampton to Caboolture and the QPL is hosted by Netball Queensland.

Round two will be in Rockhampton from June 8-9.



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