ARIANA IS LIVERPOOL-BOUND

Year 11 student Ariana Luamanu will represent Samoa at the 2019 Netball World Cup, to be held in Liverpool (England) between July 12-21. Ariana, from Armstrong Creek, came to the School at the beginning of 2018, having already represented the Samoan national team aged 15 in December 2017. 

"I was lucky enough to go to the UK and play three test matches (two against Scotland, one against Wales)," Ariana said. "It was always a dream to play at such an elite level and I never would’ve expected to get such an amazing opportunity at such a young age." The opportunity to contest a World Cup - the pinnacle of the sport - a few weeks after her 17th birthday is one Ariana will relish. "I am just so happy to soak up the whole experience and make sure I play hard whenever I get put on the court."

While living 5,000km away from the nation you're representing presents some difficulties, modern technology and the proximity of a number of her teammates certainly helps. "There are three other girls from Melbourne who I travel with to the camps (regularly held in Sydney, Auckland and Wellington) and who I also see during the week with my netball outside of school," Ariana said. "As a team we are very close and keep in touch through Facebook and email with how we are going with training. We are like one big family!"

Ariana-Luamanu-Samoa

Samoa have qualified for the past eight World Cups and have never finished higher than sixth-place (in 2003). Ariana and her teammates are hoping to finish in the top eight which, given the format of the competition, would require them to win a minimum of one of their three group games against Scotland, Uganda and the host nation, England. The top three teams from each of the four groups progress to the next phase of group matches, while the fourth team from each group play-off for placings 13-16. "It will not be easy but it is definitely achievable," Ariana said. 

Ariana was a key member of the School's AGSV/APS premiership-winning 1st Netball team in 2018 and is vice-captain of this year's team, who currently sit on top of the ladder alongside Wesley College as the two remaining undefeated teams. She will miss the first game of Term 3, against third-placed Carey Grammar, but will be back for the final game of the season, at home vs Wesley College on Saturday 3 August.