NIAS athletes impress at tough competition

UP TO THE CHALLENGE: Glen Innes trio Bridgette Beattie, Maddi Cooke and Sophie McCormick.

UP TO THE CHALLENGE: Glen Innes trio Bridgette Beattie, Maddi Cooke and Sophie McCormick.

Northern Inland Academy of Sport athletes returned from Orange last where they faced off against the state's best netballers in the second annual Academy Challenge.

Around 300 competitors from nine academies came together and then were split and teamed up with netballers from different areas.

Living up to its name, the competition was challenging but NIAS athlete Amber Barnden-Hyde stood out.

"She got most valuable player over all div one in her pool," assistant coach Julie Fuller said.

Amber Barnden-Hyde with Giants head coach Julie Fitzgerald.

Amber Barnden-Hyde with Giants head coach Julie Fitzgerald.

"Other years they have voted on each Academy but her award was over div one.

"You vote 3,2,1 against the opposition you are playing and she got the most votes for her pool which is amazing."

Fuller said the hardest part about the Challenge is teaming up with other players but all the NIAS girls stood up to the task.

"They all played really well. We split on the Sunday afternoon and you might have a Sydney netball Academy [player] as a goal shooter and a North Coast as a goal attack," she said.

"All our girls really stepped up. A huge weekend but they learned so much. Unknown combinations and the girls really have to work hard and they really have to look at stuff down court."