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Champs again

Rashneel Kumar
Monday, June 09, 2014

JULIE Hoornweg's contract with Netball Fiji ended yesterday after the Fiji Pearls retained the Pacific Netball Series (PNS) title in Cook Islands.

The national side finished undefeated in the week-long tournament beating Cook Islands, Samoa and Papua New Guinea to book its place in the 2015 World Netball Championship (WNC) to be held in Australia.

In the last match against PNG yesterday, the Matila Waqanidrola-skippered side won by 58-42.

Fiji earlier defeated the Pepes 59-49.

In the other matches, Fiji defeated Cook Islands 53-40 and 59-36 and Samoa 50-46 and 45-43.

Netball Fiji president Wainikiti Bogidrau confirmed to Times Sport that Hoornweg's contract had expired after the PNS.

The veteran mentor, who returns to Australia from Cook Islands, was brought in by Netball Fiji as a consultant coach for the Digicel Tri Series Plus One and Pacific Netball Series.

"Her contract was until the PNS. She was brought in as a consultant coach and we are thankful for what she has done with the team in this short time," Bogidrau said.

"We approached her to take up the position fulltime but I think she has other commitments with Netball Singapore and Trans Tasman netball competition."

Bogidrau said they were in talks with some suitable candidates who were eyed for the job.

She also confirmed they would appoint an overseas-based coach for the national side.

"By September we will finalise the position," Bogidrau added.

Hoornweg, who maintained a winning record with Fiji, said the side had a promising future.

"There is a bunch of very athletic and talented players in the team who are dynamic in attack and resistant in defence," Hoornweg said.

"They have a great future. I had a great time coaching them. They are very receptive to the styles and strategies that I brought in and took them well.

"There is a need for more international matches to get them on par with the top nations. It cannot be done overnight and they will need some time before they can play to their full potential.

"These girls have worked hard and done really well and the whole nation should be proud of their achievement."

Bogidrau said they had plans for some international matches in the lead up to the WNC.

"We acknowledge the hard work and the dedication put in by the players and we are very delighted with this win."

Samoa has qualified with Fiji for the WNC.

The national side returns home on Wednesday.

Team: Afa Rusivakula, Alesi Waqa, Debra Delana, Raijeli Daveua, Lusi Robanakadavu, Maria Lutua, Matila Waqanidrola, Nina Cirikisuva, Sera Dakuitoga, Teimumu Vukinavanua, Vaiti Waqatabu, Unaisi Rauluni

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