Manukura gunning for Secondary Schools title

By Ripeka Timutimu

Elite sports academy, Manukura, are gunning for their first New Zealand Secondary school netball title against 15 of the best teams from around the country. The creme de la creme secondary school teams have rallied in Wellington this week.

An easy win for the Manukura girls, but they know there's still room on the court for improvement.

Manukura student Braxton Te Riini says, “We started off quite slow, and it wasn't very consistent throughout the game, it was patchy. I think defensively our defensive end was good at picking up the ball.”

Season’s player Turahui-Uawiri says, “We can get high scores so we just need to grind it out to the end, and because we started out slow so it was hard to grind it out for the rest of the game.”

The pair is part of the 12-strong squad from Manukura, an academy based in Palmerston North with a history of sporting excellence.

“We train twice a day till Friday so for this tournament we all had to come together and be on the same page, and be determined to win,” says Te Riini.

Manukura was once part of the Tū Toa Academy who has claimed two national titles in the past seven years. But Mt Albert Grammar School is this year's favourites having won back-to-back titles for the past four years.

“Who would you like to play against in the final? I think we would like to play MAGS, I've only played them once I think last year. I'd like to play them it be a good game,” says Te Riini.

Though their opponents didn't quite bring their A-game, Hinepounamu Apanui-Barr says there's more to this tournament than just winning.

Hinepounamu Apanui-Barr says, “For most of the girls, this is their first year at nationals. We want each player to grow and play against these quality teams, the best of the country and compete, no matter the opposition.”

The tournament continues tomorrow.