The Brisbane Samoa Netball Academy has claimed the Under 17 title at the 2018 Marist Netball Tournament, which ended yesterday.
They overcame Pesega L.D.S. College 1 in the final.
Sponsored by Ah Liki Wholesale, the tournament held at Gym 3 was a popular attraction yesterday.
Out of the eight teams that competed, the Samoa Brisbane Netball Academy took the cup home through team work and the motto to stay humble and stay hungry.
Co-captains Braxton Karauti from the village of Vaimoso and Havana Iva of Vailuutai were extremely proud.
They said the tournament was an eye opening experience, saying that coming back home to their roots would be one of the highlights.
“We have learnt how to work together as a team. Teamwork was a major for us coming over here it was really different so we all had to try to adjust to Samoa but it was good and really fun.”
“It was a really good experience especially the culture because we don’t really get much in Australia so it was really good to start embracing it more now we know our roots and where we come from.”
The team also had to survive Cyclone Gita, with many of them experiencing their fist cyclone.
“We are just amazed and this is just a blessing,” Braxton said.
“Faith is how we pulled it off. Yesterday I was injured and we just prayed that I could play and we did it. Believing in each other and having our hearts in God with our games, this went really well for us. It was either we go hard or go home.”
As captains of the team, they are full of gratitude to the support of their parents and the team committee.
“We are certain that our parents back home will be very happy with the results. They have always advice to keeping praying and stay safe while being here in Samoa. Our parents knew that with the committee that we had we were in good hands. Having our parents believing in us is very important.”
The Brisbane Samoa Netball Academy was not able to explore many sites in Samoa due to the weather condition but they were able to learn more through engaging with the local talents in Samoa.
“We definitely believe that we could move the world with the ball in our hands, it has brought us here so it can take us far. Our advice to local talents here in Samoa is to just believe in yourself and believe that you could do all things through Christ that gives us strength. Pray and believe in God because he has everything planned out for you,” said Havana.
They will be leaving the country Thursday this week to head back home and they cited that they will miss the food and the environment and how green it is.
“Natural environment is real life, really beautiful and peaceful.”
Their coach is Lenora Misa a 20-year-old from the villages of Falelatai and Amaile Aleipata.
She is proud of her team.
“Just coming here and competing with the local talents here and also the experience because some of them have never been here before,” she said.
“So just experiencing where their parents came from and just coming back to their roots was a motivator for them. They trained really hard, they played well.”
She also mentioned that one of the most competitive team they encountered was the Samoa Institute of Sports (S.I.S.).
“The game was tough with all the teams but S.I.S. gave us a real panic during the game but all the games were tough. Girls kept focus and going forward with their game.”
According to Ruta Schwalger the Marist Netball Tournament Director it has been a good experience to see the joy in the under 17 and there has been so much progress she said.
“As we keep on doing these tournaments they will be able to reach the level they should be in internationally. I think that they have all enjoyed themselves including the spectators. So it has been a lot of fun,” she said.
She added that they have extended this far in terms of inviting teams internationally to provide more opportunities for development.
“Our focus is really on the development which is the reason we include the under 17 grade. Hopefully we are looking into next year to have more international teams coming. It will increase the experience here for us to be able to send the girls but there is a big cost but if we bring the girls here it makes a difference. It is also an experience for players from overseas for them to embrace their culture.”
1st PLACE: Brisbane Samoa Australia Academy
2nd PLACE: Pesega L.D.S. College 1
3rd PLACE: Pesega L.D.S. College 2