Lismore vies for NSW's netball crown
LISMORE netballers will be hoping hours of sweat and toil can pay off as they prepare to take on state opposition.
The city side faces a gruelling three days of competition taking on more than 20 other sides in Division Two of the 17 Years State Championships.
Lismore players have been conducting intensive training to prepare for the event, including early morning gym sessions at Southern Cross University.
Coach Leslie Kirk said her team was now ready to face all-comers, including fellow Division Two side Ballina, at this weekend's event.
"The tournament is game-on, game-off," she said.
"Fitness will be the biggest thing. We have been doing sessions to help develop the players' fitness and strength.
"It was a bit of a challenge to get up early in the morning but the girls have come on leaps and bounds recently. I am confident they will do well."
Lismore and Ballina are among 24 sides contesting their division at the competition which showcases talented young players from across the state.
The tournament features teams playing in round-robin groups, with a packed three days of action before competition concludes on Monday.
Brunswick Byron will also fly the flag for the region, competing in Division Three. The Lismore side was selected after trials late last year and has been preparing for several months for the event.
Kirk said she was confident of a solid display from her players.
"We have a really good mix in our side," she said. "We have some good young players in the 15s age group, together with some older ones too.
"Our goal is to win Division Two.
"We realise the competition will be tough, but I am sure we can go well."
Ballina's preparations have been hampered by injury but coach Di Cripps also thinks her side can do well. "We have a pretty good team, including four or five players in the North Coast Academy squad," she said.
"We have a lot of talented players and I think the girls are prepared mentally for it. I am targeting a top 10 finish, if not higher."