If Libby Birch is anything to go by, the future of Australian netball is in good hands.

The Maribyrnong College student continues to take her game to higher levels and is turning heads at state, national and international games.

For the second successive year, Birch has been selected in the Australian 17 and under national squad, made up of some of the sport’s best juniors from around the country.

As part of her involvement in the squad, Birch will travel to the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra for a four-day training camp.

Her selection in the team came on the back of a brilliant national championships at the Waverley Netball Centre in Melbourne.

“Winning the 17-and-under national championships for Victoria was just awesome,” Birch said.

“We have got a really talented group and it was such a hard- fought battle throughout the week.

“It was really special because it was a real team effort that got us over the line.

“We had some ups and downs during the week but we pulled together and managed to get the win.”

More than a gun player, Birch is also an exceptional leader and has captained the Victorian under-17 side the past two years.

She says the leadership side of the game is something she hopes to pursue in the future.

“I love the opportunity to be captain and I was privileged enough to get that again this year,” she said.

“I really embrace it; it’s a very special thing for me.

“I find being a leader is pretty natural for me. I use my passion and desire and that sort of thing on court, as well as trying to help my teammates individually off the

Birch is hoping to be selected in the Australian Netball League this year.

Don Deeble Rising Star

For her outstanding sports achievements, she has been named this month’s Don Deeble Rising Star nominee.

The award is run by the Sunshine Western Region Sports Club in conjunction with Star Weekly.

Birch will receive $1000, donated by the Yarraville Club Cricket Club, and other prizes to help her in pursuit of her sporting goals.

The Don Deeble Rising Star Award recognises young athletes in the western suburbs who have achieved outstanding results at state and national levels.