Mawson bound for VNL

By Andrew Johnston

BEING given the opportunity to play at a higher level is a huge moment for any young athlete.

And for Echuca's Claudia Mawson, the opportunity to play at Victorian Netball League is something she is more than excited for.

Though the news did not come at the best time.

“I got a phone call to say I'd been selected when we were driving home from Shepparton,” she said.

“We'd just lost the (Goulburn Valley League) preliminary final to Shepp United, so it was a bittersweet moment.”

Though it would not take long for the bitter side to disappear.

The 17-year-old, fresh off a season where she not only claimed Echuca's A grade best and fairest, but also finished fourth in the GVL's Wellman medal, has signed on as a member of the Melbourne University Lightning for 2020.

The team is a member of the VNL, the highest grade of netball in the state outside of the national competition.

The selection came about after a recent trial with the club.

“I've been involved in an academy this year,” she said.

“It's a pathway top the VNL, so in that time I've been exposed to a lot different coaches and systems to try and make me a better player. It's been suggested we try out for a few different clubs as a result.”

Mawson chose to try out with the lightning, as she also holds hopes of studying at the university next year, and believed the connection made sense.

“I've heard a lot of good things about the club,” she said.

“I went to a trial a few weeks ago where I think I performed alright, and got a phone call from Elissa Kent (coach of the Lightning) not long after to accept me into the team.

“I've been selected as a goaler which is exciting for me as I have played goal attack with the Bombers this year, but I have been playing mid court with the academy.”

Mawson couldn't hold her home club in higher esteem for their role in getting her selected.

“I play with an incredible group of girls,” she said.

“We had a great year this season, as we did last year. To fall just short of getting back to the grand final is disappointing no doubt, but its an incredibly strong club and I'm hoping to see them succeed again in 2020.”