ONE of Tamworth's fastest-rising netball stars is set to take his talents across the ditch to New Zealand.
Brody Blackett-Gregg will line up for the Australian under-20 men's netball team during a five-day tour of New Zealand.
The side will play eight games in the five-day period, including clashes against a Waikato under-23 team, a Christchurch under-23 team, a Wellington under-23 team and the Australian under-17 team.
Brody's father Robert Gregg said there was also potential for the 18-year-old to play a ninth game.
"After the games during the week, the Australians will take on a select team made up of the best from all of the New Zealand teams," Gregg said.
"Brody's not really thinking too far ahead on that one, though.
"His first goal is to make the starting line-up, hopefully as a goal attack or as a goal shooter.
"He has been putting in a lot of hard work to prepare for the tour, so it would be great to see that pay off on the court."
Part of Blackett-Gregg's preparation for the tour has involved training sessions at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS).
"He has been doing a lot of individual training around his shooting skills, has had some court time in the Tamworth's new men's competition and also the mixed comp in Tamworth on Thursday nights," Gregg said.
"As well as that, his preparation has included going to a couple of carnivals around the region.
"Since his team camp at the AIS about four weeks ago, it's been more about keeping the basics in check."
Gregg said Brody's involvement in the tour wouldn't have been possible without the support of several local businesses and organisations.
"We had put a lot of effort into getting some sponsorship to help pay for his expenses, and the support we had was just fantastic," he said.
"Honestly, without the support of; Athletes Foot, Andromeda Industries, South Tamworth Bowling Club Tyre Right Narrabri, Tamworth Netball, Coolah Junior Sports, McKnights Signs and Chris Watson Travel, we wouldn't have been able to make this happen.
"I just want to thank all of those people for helping us get organised and get this far."
As for Gregg, his involvement with men's netball will continue long after the tour finishes, as he was recently named the NSW under-17 men's state netball coach.
"It is pretty exciting to be at the coalface of junior men's netball in NSW," he said.
"I think it is a big step up for myself and great opportunity to set up some future pathways for regional guys to get an opportunity to progress further.
"The sky is the limit for men's netball in NSW, in my opinion."