Chelsea nets a top training spot with Thunderbirds

Promising young netballer Chelsea Blackman is thriving as a training partner with the Thunderbirds as the team prepares for the 2018 Suncorp Super Netball season

IT'S been a big 2017 for SASI netballer Chelsea Blackman and the chances are that 2018 could be even bigger.

Chelsea, 17, recently was given a training partner contract with the Thunderbirds after an excellent season at State underage level and with premier Contax in the Premier League competition.

The rising star is loving the chance to train with the state's elite players.

''Everyone has been fantastic, the players, coaches,'' she said.

''I knew some of the girls at Contax who are with the Thunderbirds so that has made it easier but I am learning so much.

''Initially I was quite worried about how I would fit in but already I have learned a lot. All the girls are really professional.

"Being with SASI probably helped me get noticed and playing having Dan Ryan watch me play in the Premier League finals at Contax possibly helped as he saw what I could do.

''The quality of the players, intensity and skill level is much higher than what I have been used to.

''For the time being I am training once a week and really learning so much.

Chelsea, recently selected in the SA 19 and under State squad for 2018 and a member of the victorious SA under-17 which won the national title last season, is honing her skills in positions at either goal keeper or goal defence.

SASI Netball Head Coach Jenny Borlase said Chelsea was an outstanding prospect.

''She is a really promising athlete with a consistent approach to training both on court and in the gym,'' Borlase said.

''She displays great maturity and this is refected in her high performance behaviours .

''To work with the Thunderbirds will be an exciting opportunity.

''She is a very competitive defender. She gets in the right place at the right timeand reads the play very well.

''She is calm on court but knows when to put in etra effort showing many qualities of a game changer.''

Chelsea could get a chance to play with the Thunderbirds this season, as could other training partners in Emily Burgess, Charlee Hodges and Gia Abernethy. Chelsea Lemke is on the long-term injury list but will be helped in her rehab by the Thunderbirds.

The Thunderbirds will play their opening match on April 29 at home.

With little time for hobbies Chelsea is enjoying the end of her Year 11 commitments at Pedare College.

She also is getting used to negotiating traffic on her way to and from netball training after recently earning her P plates.

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C Blackman