A STRONG performance for NSW at the men's netball national championships has seen Tamworth's Brody Blackett-Gregg selected to represent Australia.
Blackett-Gregg was instrumental in his side's nationals campaign and was the first player named for the Australian under-20 men's side to compete at the world championships in New Zealand in September.
"I was a combination of shocked and excited when I heard my name read out," Blackett-Gregg told the Leader.
"To be honest, I don't think many of us in the NSW team thought any of us would be selected, given we didn't make the final of the championships.
"But then myself and one of my teammates [Cooper Thompson] were named and it was really exciting."
The Tamworth local has been involved with the NSW men's netball system for more than a year, but also excels in a variety of other sports.
"I'm actually just about to leave for Bathurst to represent North West at the Combined High Schools basketball championships," Blackett-Gregg said.
"However, now that I have been selected to represent Australia, I will be focusing completely on netball."
Regularly an attacking player, Blackett-Gregg said he would be prepared to play in any position for his country.
"I actually played the second half of the nationals in defence after one of our usual defenders went down with an injury," he said.
"To be honest, I hadn't played in defence terribly much, but I really enjoyed it back there. I'd be more than happy to go into defence if the coach wants.
"To be honest, I would we happy to play anywhere they want me to."
Blackett-Gregg said he took many valuable lessons away from NSW's nationals campaign.
"If I ever thought netball wasn't a contact sport, I know that it is now," he said.
"It did get a bit physical at times. Every game was really close and the play was so fast.
"I think that really boils down to the fitness level of all the players being so high.
"So that would be what I'm going to focus on most leading up to the trip to New Zealand. There will be plenty of training camps; I'll also be doing my own stuff as well.
"I'm really looking forward to it."
Blackett-Gregg said he hoped his selection would help inspire others to give netball a try.
"I think more guys will get involved with netball for sure and certain," he said.
"It's a growing sport and it would be great to see it continue to grow into the future."