Craigieburn’s Tee Salanoa mixed it with the world’s best netballers at the recent Netball World Cup.
The 20-year-old was part of the Samoan team that finished 13th overall at the cup, which was won by New Zealand.
Salanoa, who returned to Melbourne this week, said it was an incredible experience.
“It was amazing,” she said.
“I went into it not expecting anything. Everything was next level – the opening ceremony way amazing, as was the changerooms and everything.
“I can’t wait for the next one.”
The Samoan team’s toughest game was against England, during which Salanoa went head-to-head with star Collingwood Magpies defender Geva Mentor.
Salanoa said the team had a slow start to the competition.
“We wanted to finish in the top eight,” she said. “We ended up in the bottom group [for the second stage] and played off for 13th.
“We finished on top of our group in the second stage and won every game.
“We finished off strongly.”
Overall, Salanoa said she thought she had a good tournament – she was on court in all of Samoa’s seven games and scored 107 goals from 111 attempts across the competition.
She was named player of the match in Samoa’s win against Singapore.
“I was happy and my family was happy with how I went,” she said.
“I played quite strong and held my own.”
Salanoa has been part of the Samoan program since 2017 when she first represented the country at the Youth World Cup.
Among her teammates was Soli Ropati, who Salanoa plays with at the City West Falcons in the Victorian Netball League.
“She introduced me to Netball Samoa,” Salanoa said.
“She’s one of my best friends.”
Having got another taste on the international scene, Salanoa said she would love to get more opportunities.
“I’ll look to stay connected with the Samoan program and hopefully we’ll do some competition in the next few years and not have to wait for the World Cup.”
There’s little time for rest for Salanoa, with her two clubs, the City West Falcons and Rupertswood, both sitting on top of the ladder in their respective competitions.
The Falcons, who are looking to go back-to-back, start finals this week.
“We have a lot of fun and this group has stuck around and know each other inside out,” Salanoa said.
In her first season at Rupertswood, in Riddell District Netball League, Salanoa said she was enjoying being one of the older players in the team, with the Sharks fielding a young side.
Salanoa is also hoping to make it into the Suncorp Super Netball competition.
“It’s a long process.”