Annie Calls Time



Justine McCullagh-Beasy

Nov 14 2013


WARRNAMBOOL Mermaids’ loss is North Warrnambool Eagles’ gain.

Multi-talented teenager Annie Blackburn will take a season off from basketball ­ ­— a sport she’s represented Australian in — and will instead focus on netball in 2014.

The Mermaids will kick-start their Big V pre-season campaign tonight without the talented guard and three-time Vic Country representative.

Annie represented Australia at the under 17 world championships in Amsterdam in August 2012 and again in a three-on-three competition at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival in Sydney in January. 

The Emmanuel College student cited basketball’s high training demand and a want to focus on her VCE for her decision.

“Because I am in year 12 next year I am giving basketball a break because it was getting too much,” she said of state and national commitments.

“So I thought I’d play netball with North Warrnambool Eagles on the weekends and train once a week.

“I thought I needed to do what was best for me.”

Annie, an athletic guard, said she started weighing up her options after the Mermaids’ season ended in August, before deciding on a break during the Eagles’ netball finals.

“I tried to think about the future — would I keep up that level of training by myself for the next two years because that’s when the next Australian team is picked,” she said.

“Some people are shocked at it — you have gone to playing at the highest level to not at all. With basketball it is a lot of pressure and with netball it is a lot of fun and you have your friends with you.

“And it’s hard in Warrnambool because I was training by myself all the time.”

Annie is unsure of her long-term basketball future.

“I reckon I will miss it and if I do I will go back,” she said.

Annie played a key role in North Warrnambool Eagles’ historic Hampden league A grade premiership in September.

The 180-centimetre goal attack said she was quietly confident the Eagles could push for back-to-back flags.

Her sister Laura has committed again, allowing them to build on their goal ring chemistry.

“It was amazing, the best feeling ever, especially playing with my sister as well,” she said of the upset grand final win against Koroit.

“We are all so young at the club and have all been at the club since under 13s.Coaches Dot (Jenkins) and Jackie (Smedts) have helped us a lot.”


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