Bega’s Tarni Evans will take Aussie rules to the national stage next month.
Tarni will form part of the under 15 All Schools NSW girls team to contest the Australian title, while Merimbula’s Jedd Martyn and Caleb Higgins will take part on the boys team.
The Sapphire Coast Anglican College student said her experience in local competition for the Tathra Sea Eagles was a huge boon going into trials and a recent tournament where selectors named the squad.
The All Schools Nationals will be held in Perth on July 29 and Tarni said it will be a great chance to contest a team sport at a national level.
“The whole team sport thing is going to be heaps of fun,” Tarni said, already boasting nationals experience for her athletics. “I’ve competed at nationals before, but athletics is such a singular performance.”
She said local competition played at a similar level to the trials and the experience over the last 18 months had put her in good stead to face the challenge.
“It’s definitely good to have that experience in the local comp,” Tarni said.
Tarni said the selections were during a combined tournament of state and Christian schools in Albury earlier this month, but it was the northern Combined Catholic Colleges (CCC) squad dominating the round-robin.
“There was a team from Riverina and one from Sydney, but the CCC team won all of their games with pretty big margins – they were very good,” she said.
Most of the NSW team was picked from their ranks, but Tarni was cherry-picked to fill the ruck role after a standout showing at the tournament.
“I usually play ruck or wing in the local competition, but I was ruck the whole time out there,” Tarni said.
Known for her ability locally to clear the ball from the middle before a sprint down the flanks, Tarni said greasy conditions did force her to offload more quickly, but she tried to keep her normal style.
“It was really slippery, so you did have to just kick it forward straight away, but once the tap had gone I just tried to play my normal style and mark their ruck well,” she said.
Tarni said she was thrilled to be selected, but commended young Diggers Jedd and Caleb on their selection as she said the boys’ tournament was “fiercely competitive” and also boasted more teams to pick from.
She said there were about 12 teams as opposed to the four in the girls’ tournament, meaning both players had to outshine hundreds of other players.
Playing the tournament gave the Bega young gun a chance to meet her upcoming team-mates and she’s pumped to get ready for centre stage at the competition.
There isn’t a set training regime for the nationals, but she would just continue working hard at regular club meetings on Tuesdays and Thursdays.