Mel Oloamanu has marked herself as a future star of Australian netball.

The Melton Secondary College 16-year-old has just returned from captaining the Australian under-16 team to a narrow loss in an international tournament, and the defender said the thrill of representing her country was still fresh.

“It felt really good, it was such an amazing tournament and I just loved every bit of it,” she said.

“Unfortunately we came second, losing to New Zealand by a goal in the final, but it was so much fun out on the court with those girls.

“It was great to play for Australia, the crowds were just going nuts so the atmosphere on the court was amazing.”

Oloamanu and the team had just a week of training in Darwin before the tournament, and Oloamanu said she felt the pressure.

“It took a while for us to click, but as soon as we got our combinations right it was great,” she said.

“I was nervous when they first asked me to captain, I didn’t really want to take it initially. But my coaches and the other leaders in the team all helped me so much so it was a great experience.”

With a cousin playing professionally in New Zealand, Oloamanu is planning on charting a similar path to the top of Australian netball.

“She’s [her cousin] the sort of person who never gives up, so I’ve been really influenced by her in taking up netball,” Oloamanu said.

“I want to make the Victorian under 17 team this year, and then hopefully get noticed for the Australian Institute of Sport.”