Narrogin and Districts Netball Association’s Rising Stars program finished off its season with an action-packed weekend at the Great Southern Regional Championships in Albany. More than 400 players, officials and spectators were spared the torrential rain and plummeting temperatures by using the indoor facilities at the Albany Leisure and Aquatic Centre. NDNA made two grand finals in the 12-and-under and 17-and-under divisions, but both fell short against Albany sides. The Rising Stars’ campaign got off to an early start with the 15-and-under team suffering a first-round defeat by Katanning on Friday night. Coach Jo Thomas encouraged the girls to focus on attacking hard and they responded to defeat Denmark 22-12 on Saturday morning. Gaige Kapene continued her outstanding season form, reading the play and shutting down the opposition attack, and was supported in defence by Sienna Lanciano. Narrogin’s 14-and-under coach Fiona Kirby was thrilled with her team’s 20-goal victory in their first game, with solid defence from Aniela Turner-Reid and determined mid-court attacking from Natalie Bradford limiting Esperance’s scoring opportunities. The Albany 13-and-under team put up a fight in the first round but the defensive skills of Sienna Kukulj and Emma Graham, combined with precision passing from Kate Cousins and Kate Corner, guided Sandii Stankovic’s NDNA girls to a two-goal victory. The rest of the day was a mixed bag of results for all teams, including those selected from the NDNA A1 competition to play in the open division. Melita Davey and Chloe Hanson formed an almost impenetrable wall in defence to keep Denmark to only nine goals, while Megan Hardie and Sheree Blechynden proved too strong in attack. Finals action was played on Sunday, with Ashtyn Steer maintaining her first-year association coaching record as her 12-and-under girls got through to another grand final. Players Abbey Steere and Rowie Duff continued their strong weekends but continuous pressure from Albany helped the home team secure victory by three goals. The 17-and-under team, in what was most likely their final game together after many years in Rising Stars, met Albany in the decider in what was most likely their final game together after many years in Rising Stars. Coach Kelly Steere was quietly confident of an upset but Albany’s unyielding defence and faultless shooting helped them take control from half-time and come out winners by eight goals. At the closing ceremony, NDNA president Lee Conlan was named the 2021 Great Southern Region volunteer of the year for her tireless commitment to improving and promoting netball in the local association and the Great Southern. Megan Hardie was named umpire of the meet and together with Megan Henry, Rhiannon Turton and Alex Hodges was selected to umpire a grand final. Ten players from the Narrogin & Districts Netball Association were invited to attend squad training over the coming month. NDNA players Sienna Kukulj, Gaige Kapene, Denica Stoffberg, Tayla Battley, Melita Davey, Chelsea Mulcahy, Mackenzie Williams, Sheree Blechynden, Megan Hardie and Chloe Hansen will be up for team selection for the State Cup to be held in Perth in October.