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Pathway burns bright for Rylee

Rylee Burns is the posterchild for Queensland’s netball pathway program.

Whether that leads to an Australian Diamonds or Kiwi Ferns dress is a debate for another time.

The Bond University student and Bull Sharks wing attack has come through the Queensland system – after moving to Australia from New Zealand as an eight-year-old -- and is also coaching the next crop of youngsters from under 8s through to under 13s.

“I’m seeing even more rep opportunities for girls to get exposed to selection,” Burns said. 

“At the weekend [AUG 1-2] we had our under 16s trials for the Bond Bull Sharks, I have seen so many amazing talented players in that group.

“When I was that young we didn’t have anything like that, we just had one big trial.

“So we are allowing all the young girls at Bond to get the highest level coaching to pursue a good netball career and I’m excited to see that talent coming through.”

Burns, 18, has already achieved a lot in her young netball career.

The Bachelor of Sport & Exercise Science student captained Somerset College to an undefeated Queensland Independent Secondary Schools Netball championship last year.

She was named MVP of the tournament too.

It’s no surprise.

Burns -- the daughter of former Kiwi international and Bull Sharks coach Sheryl -- made the Queensland under 17s representative side as a 15-year-old, and is now part of the Australian development squad.

She started training with the Queensland Fusion earlier this year – before COVID interfered.

“Last year was my first year with the Bull Sharks, it was definitely a step up,” Burns said.

“The Sapphire series is an amalgamation of ages, but what the older girls bring is a lot of skill and flair, they have a lot of experience and a lot of understanding of the game that the younger girls don’t have.

“It was definitely a step up from what I’ve experienced, even the under 17s Queensland team, that standard is very high, but the Sapphire series bring a completely other level to that.”

Burns plans to lift her game to the next level when the Sapphire Series begins on August 16.

Her goals for the future are to follow the pathway.

“I want to be in the starting seven for the Bond University Bull Sharks in the Sapphire Series and I want to get into the Queensland Fusion next year.

“I definitely want to be a Firebird before I’m 23 and hopefully represent my country, whether that be Australia or New Zealand.

“People always ask me that question, but that’s down the track, if I’m good enough, it would be an honour to play at that level.”

One step at a time.

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