NEXT STARS HAVE FIRE IN BELLY: Firebirds visits region
NETBALL: If Bundaberg's young netballers needed any inspiration to get to the top in the sport, they got it this week.
Queensland Firebird Laura Clemesha visited the region on Wednesday, holding a clinic for girls between the ages of 11 and 13 at the PCYC Multiplex.
The goalkeeper knows all too well the challenges someone from Bundaberg faces to make it to the top.
She's lived through it.
Clemesha was born in the regional town of St George, near Toowoomba, which has a population of just under 3000.
The 25-year-old through hard work, persistence, determination and skill was able to work her way to the top and do what she loves - being paid to play netball.
It was the message she tried to relay to Bundaberg players when she visited.
"It's really important for me to get out here and as a regional athlete myself show them that Netball Queensland sees Bundaberg as a really important area,” Clemesha told the NewsMail.
"The important thing is Netball Queensland has a focus on coming to different regions and really looking to identify girls early to get to that level.”
Clemesha said that was how she was discovered.
"I think I benefited when Netball Queensland expanded their pathways into regional areas,” she said.
"I was fortunate enough to come in a talent identification system.”
Now, she hopes future big talents can come from somewhere like the Rum City.
"It's been a fantastic opportunity (for the girls) to be exposed to some great coaches and real good bases of attacking in defence,” she said.
"In particular I've been trying to play some game sense games with them - take them out of a traditional format and apply the skills in a different setting.
"My advice is to keep having fun, keep playing but know there will always be an opportunity to be put in front of Netball Queensland.”
Clemesha will soon be in the spotlight herself, playing for the Firebirds in the Suncorp Super Netball competition.
The side is after redemption following the competition's first season last year.
They missed the finals and were humbled by fellow Queensland side the Sunshine Coast Lightning, which won the competition in its inaugural year.
"We definitely want to establish ourselves as the number one team in Queensland,” Clemesha said.
"We've kept the core of our team, so we haven't had too much extra learning to do.
"So hopefully by the time we come against Lightning in round two we will be raring to go and be able to smooth out a lot of our stumbling blocks in preseason.”
The defender said she was hoping to get plenty of game time this year.
The season starts on April 29.