Day 2 - Game on!

After just a few hours of sleep the girls were up and ready to go. To ensure that they were prepared for their up coming matches, the first activity of the day was a professional coaching clinic with Vilimaina Davu. Vilimaina has represented both Fiji and New Zealand in international netball as a Goal Keeper. As a young girl, living in Fiji, she asked her dad to fix some wire around a palm tree in her yard, and this became her hoop. With no netballs to play with, Vilimaina began to practice her shooting with a coconut, working each day to improve her skills until finally she was selected to represent her country, at just 14 years of age. Early in her career, Vilimaina's coach convinced her to switch shooting for defence to make better use of her on court aggression, and before long she was a Goal Keeper.

The girls were pushed physically and mentally during the training session. Vilimaina's drills fine tuned their attacking and defensive skills. In an attempt to give Grammar a leg up against the New Zealanders, she taught the girls the importance of actively seeking the ball to out maneuver the Kiwi's spacial defence. Push up penalties and sprints were run for sloppy play, poor communication and laziness. Her underlying message though, was always that the girls must support one another because, at the end of the day, they will win or lose not as an individual, but as a team.

With the training session finished, it was time to refuel with lunch at Takapuna Beach before we made our way to Carmel College for the first matches of the tour. The Premier Team looked strong in attack, finding their rhythm and getting the ball swiftly down the court. Unfortunately Carmel College opened their game strongly, and held a comfortable lead at the end of the first quarter. The Grammar girls worked hard and looked competitive, making ground each quarter, but couldn't quite get there, going down 47-35 in the end.

Meanwhile, the Development Squad, had the luxury of playing on the outdoor courts with a spectacular view of Lake Pupuke. Despite the hectic 24 hours that had passed, the girls still dug deep and actively worked to apply the lessons that they had learned from Vilimaina on court. It was exciting to see the girls try to incorporate these principles into their game, showing determination and passion, fighting for every ball, though some may have been motivated by Vilimaina's threat of push ups for dropped balls still ringing in their ears. Carmel College were the victors today, but the team is coming together well and we are excited to see what they bring to the table when they take on Botany Downs on Tuesday.

After the conclusion of both matches, the Carmel College girls invited us to stay for afternoon tea. Instantly, conversations began to flow and connections were made. It really was a special site, seeing how close a group of girls could become in such a short period of time. The Carmel girls even joined in on a rendition of the Grammar School war cry, before sharing with us their school song. Before long though, it was time to exchange details and head back to our hotel. With a late dinner scheduled, some took advantage of the down time and set out with Mr Lobley to explore Auckland City, while others settled in for a much needed nap!


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