It was fourth time lucky for Melton’s Madelyn Gray at the National Netball Championships.
After coming home empty-handed from three previous national campaigns, Gray was part of the winning Victorian under-19 team which competed in Canberra last month.
After going through the round matches undefeated, Victoria went on to win the title, defeating Queensland 25-17 in the grand final.
Gray had previously represented Victoria twice at under-15 level and once at under-17 level at the championships.
“It was so good and I’d waited for a long time to get the win,” she said.
“I didn’t expect to help win the title as I hadn’t won one before. We were lucky we had a really good side.”
Gray, 18, was one of two goal attacks in the team, the other was her City West Falcons’ teammate Tahnysha Salanoa. Both players got even court time across the championships.
As a bottom-age player, Gray didn’t expect to make the side because she had missed out on being selected as a bottom-age player at under-17 level.
She was thrilled to get the unexpected call-up this year.
“You get selected to try out if you’ve played representative netball or a higher level.
“There was 80 girls to start with. There was 25 selected for a training squad and we trained together for three weeks.
“I was a bit unsure whether I’d be picked as there was some really good netballers.”
Gray, who did gymnastics before starting netball about 10 years ago, already has her eyes set on being part of the under-19 Victorian team again next year.
She’s hoping a strong performance there will lead to Australian selection.
In the lead-up she we will continue to play for the Falcons under-19 team in the Victorian Netball League and St Albans in the Geelong Football Netball League.
She had previously played for Melton in the Ballarat Netball League but made the move to St Albans to be coached by former Australian player Nicole Richardson. Richardson is also one of the coaches at the Falcons.
Long term, Gray’s goal is to play for the Melbourne Vixens in the Suncorp Super Netball competition.
She’s already had the opportunity to train with the Vixens on two occasions.
“We got to train with them before we went to Canberra [for the championships],” she said.
“And about two months ago they asked if I wanted to train with them for a session as a girl was injured.
“I said ‘of course’. It was really good and I think that I went really well.”