Northern Hawks netball captain Ashton Whiley reflects on successful season

TRIPLE TREAT: Ashton Whiley won the club and league best and fairests, and made the team of the year in the State League in 2016. Picture: Alex Fair

TRIPLE TREAT: Ashton Whiley won the club and league best and fairests, and made the team of the year in the State League in 2016. Picture: Alex Fair

Being part of the Collingwood/Tasmanian Australian Netball League side is the next goal for Ashton Whiley after a successful State League season captaining Launceston’s Northern Hawks.

The 26-year-old Devonport product collected the ‘’triple’’ in the competition this season, the league opens best and fairest, the club opens best and fairest and a place in the opens team of the year.

“We had a change of coach this season (with Ruth Tuohy in charge) and fitness was a big focus, with a lot of new programs and a lot of things we wanted to achieve before the season started, so we were ready to go when the season started,’’ said Whiley, who previously played for Devon.

“Something (an award) with Hawks written on it probably means more, as the state awards are team awards, as they not only represent me, but the people around me, the people who  make me look good.”

It was Whiley’s first club best and fairest having finished runner-up twice, saying finally winning one was a  ‘’good feeling’’.

The Hawks fell in the grand final to the all-conquering Arrows but Whiley said: “We were able to be the top team in North of the state and the fact it was the first time we had made a final in 20 years, it really was a big achievement for the club.

“To be a part of that match was really exciting. They were the best team for the season and deserved their win.”

The centre and wing-attack has been the on-court leader for the Hawks for two years, and has about 180 games under her belt.

The partnership with Collingwood (who have one of the new franchises for the National Netball League) and Netball Tasmania will see the Tasmania Magpies enter the ANL as a feeder team, replacing Tasmanian Spirit, who had been in recess since the end of 2014.

Whiley was vice-captain of that Spirit outfit, and believed Collingwood’s involvement was exciting for the game in the state.  “To get that team back will create that pathway to the national league and that is something I’d love to be a part of.”

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