Sport

Local Echuca netballer earns spot in state under-19 squad

By Aydin Payne

A Murray Bomber is set to represent Victoria in netball this year at one of the biggest tournaments in the country.

A breakout season in the Goulburn Valley Netball League has seen star talent Claudia Mawson earn selection in this year's Victorian state netball side.

The attacking playmaker from Echuca was picked in the under-19 side that will contest the 2020 National Netball Championships in Hobart in April.

Mawson, 18, will rub shoulders with some of the country's brightest netballers at the six-day event which runs from April 18 to 23.

“It was all a bit surreal, I was on my way to Vietnam and I didn't expect to be named,” Mawson said.

“A few years ago I trialled but missed out, so it was a bit of a shock (to be named).

“It's a six-day tournament so it's going to be pretty huge both physically and mentally.

“But it's a really exciting opportunity and I can't wait for the year ahead.”

Following the end of Echuca's season last year, the starlet was busy training for the state side and Victorian Netball League outfit, Melbourne University Lightning.

With training taking a back seat during the holiday period, Mawson revealed things would soon start to ramp up in the coming weeks.

“The state side starts training weekly at the end of January and I'll continue my preseason with Melbourne Uni Lightning too,” she said.

“I know I'm going to be pretty busy this year but I'm really looking forward to it.”

Mawson was one of the shining stars for Echuca last year in the side's A-grade premiership defence, which ended in a heartbreaking preliminary final loss.

The goal attacker claimed the club's A-grade best-and-fairest award and finished inside the top-five in the league best-and-fairest count.

And she represented the league at interleague level, playing in the successful open-age side that claimed the Netball Victoria Association Championships.

But despite all her accolades last season the modest teenager believed her superb year was partly due to others around her.

“I was lucky to have the people I had around me,” she said.

“I've been fortunate enough to have such great mentors and I've really grown under them as a player.”

One name that stands out among the rest is her long-time coach Gina Pearson, who Mawson credited for her rapid rise up the ranks.

“It's definitely Gina, she's been such a great influence on me,” she said.

“Her passion for the sport and commitment are both attributes that stand out and I can't thank her enough.”