Mila eyes spot in New Zealand U21 netball

Tuesday November 17, 2015 Written by Published in Netball
Wellington East Girls’ College netballer Mila Reuelu-Buchanan has a good chance of making the New Zealand under-21 team. 15111605/ (Maarten Holl/Fairfax NZ) Wellington East Girls’ College netballer Mila Reuelu-Buchanan has a good chance of making the New Zealand under-21 team. 15111605/ (Maarten Holl/Fairfax NZ)

Mila Reuelu-Buchanan would love a trip to Rarotonga this summer.


But the Wellington East Girls' College year 13 wouldn't be there for a holiday, she'd be donning a black dress as part of the New Zealand under-21 netball team.

The midcourter is the only player from Netball Central in the 20-strong squad to attend a training camp in mid-December from which under-21s coach Kiri Willis will pick 12 players to tour the Cook Islands.

It's all part of the buildup towards the Under-21 Netball World Cup in 2017, which Reuelu-Buchanan said she wanted to be a part of, but admitted to being surprised at her initial selection last month.

"I found out a week after (secondary school) nationals, it was really random. It was so unexpected and when she rung I was just buzzing out because it didn't really cross my mind that I would get selected.

"It was definitely a goal for me, but I didn't know how I was going to be selected and it was a massive shock to me."

East finished third at nationals, with Reuelu-Buchanan being named in the tournament team, capping what had been a tumultuous season for the team in which they lost two major finals.

"First we lost to Wellington Girls' in the College Sport final and a lot of the girls were really upset and disappointed, but I think it boosted us going into regionals as it challenged us and made us more determined to win.

"At lower North Islands we were awesome but in the final unfortunately we cracked and didn't play very well [against St Mary's]. It showed us that under pressure we tend to crack.

"Unfortunately it took us until nationals to play our best, but we came away with third and managed to get back at Wellington Girls' and St Mary's."

A loss to a strong Mt Albert Grammar School side meant they missed the final, but Reuelu-Buchanan was proud of her team's effort.

After hopefully playing for the under-21s in Raro, she will move into club netball.

She's likely to play for PIC, with the draw of outgoing Silver Ferns coach Wai Taumaunu being around the club one of the factors in that.

"A lot of my friends are going there as well and I know a lot of the people, so it just makes sense, and my great-grandmother was one of the founding members of PIC. I'm pretty sure that's where I'm going."

In preparation for the step into senior netball, she's doing fitness work with High Performance Sport New Zealand, technical sessions with netball coach Sandra Edge and working on her strength at CrossFit Porirua.

The strength training could be crucial to make the step to the next level, she said.

"It's very important moving up to senior netball, because I'm now at that stage when I can do a bit more weights than what I was doing before and I'll need that strength against the older players."

Her ultimate goal is to make the Silver Ferns, but she will also attend Victoria University next year to fuel her other passion in life - helping those less fortunate than herself.

"My main focus is to do a Bachelor of Social Work and I also want to do Development Studies and Maori and Pacific Studies as well.

"It comes from my mum, because growing up she's been heavily involved in working with young people and she currently works at the Children's Commission and hearing her stories about helping young people is just awesome.

"Just giving to those who have nothing is the big thing, for people who have things it might not be much, but to those who don't have things it's a massive deal. Making them happy makes me happy." - Stuff/ Liam Hyslop

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