Griffith punches above weight for state

FIVE of the twelve tennis players selected to represent the Riverina at the state championships are from Griffith.

The athletes were selected last Friday when more than 40 public school students from across the region competed at the Jack Shannon tennis courts in Griffith for a spot on the Riverina Primary Schools Sports Association (PSSA) team.

To make it to the trials the students had already been through competitive school, community of schools' and zone selection processes in Albury, Wagga, Deniliquin and Griffith.

The five girls and five boys representing the Riverina team will head to Newcastle in May for the NSW PSSA state tennis carnival.

Riverina PSSA coach Duncan Adams attributed the success of Griffith players to one local coach.

"Given Griffith is one small part of the Riverina we are over-represented which is largely the work of head coach Cheryl Rawle who has been instrumental in providing grassroots support for these kids," Mr Adams said.

"At the carnival there will be NSW and Australian talent scouts and even though we live far out in the country we will have the opportunity to showcase a lot of local talent on a grand stage.

"They'll go up against the best 130 12 year olds in the state from public, catholic and independent schools.

"It might not sound like much to some people who think they are very young but scouts will be looking for the next best Australian players remember Lleyton Hewitt changed the game of tennis in Australia at the age of 16."

The boys team will be spearheaded by Brady Clifford who goes in as the number one seeded player in the Riverina team and will be put to the test by the best in the state.

Natalie Gibbs returns to the team after being selected in 2013 when she was only in year five and Elise Townsend will face the best competition of her life.

Brady, Natalie and Elise will be doing their best to impress state selectors who will decide the state side to tour Darwin for the national competition in August.

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