By STEVE MENZIES
The annual netball showdown between Alice Springs and Darwin, the NT Link Championship, is being held at the Pat Gallagher Netball Centre from today.
There are four grades – 13-and-under, 15-and-under, 17-and-under and 19-and-under. There is no open grade this year.
Alice Springs and Darwin have two teams in the three youngest divisions and one each in the 19s. Katherine and Palmerston have teams in the three youngest age groups.
All the Alice Springs teams will play at least five games through the weekend.
The Alice Springs 19s is a strong side with most players having A-Grade experience with Carly Wilson and Lucy Nicolai being regular A-Grade performers with their clubs.
They and three other members of the team – Brooke Wilson, Matilda Baldwin and Ellie Herbert – are in the recently selected NT 19-and-under team for the national titles in July. Another team member, Ailis Nolan, is a reserve for the Territory team.
Wilson, who is representing Alice Springs for the sixth time after beginning in the second year of the 13-and-unders, is the team captain and Nicolai is the vice-captain.
“It is a good side and I am looking forward to playing with the girls again,” Wilson said.
“The championship was cancelled last year so it is a while since we played together.
‘I do not know anything about the Darwin side as I did not recognise any names when I saw the team list.
“Playing a best-of-three format to decide the 19s title is an interesting format,” says Wilson.
“I am likely to play some time in the defence circle with Matilda and Milly Scollen and some in attack with (sister) Brooke and Molly Southam.
“We will use the games against the 17s to work on our combination and strategies for the games against Darwin.
“I hope we will go well.”
The three games against Darwin are all on Sunday from 8.30am.
The 13s, 15s and 17s will play the other five sides in their groups before the semi-finals and grand finals on Sunday.
Games begin with the 13s at 5.20pm today. The 15s and 17s will play after the opening ceremony at 6.30pm.
All the games will be inside the stadium.
Admission to the Pat Gallagher Netball Centre is free of charge.