Costello to play netball for Fiji Pearls on world stage

BALLARAT netballer Jane Costello is set to take her game to the world stage.

The Fijian national, who plays for Ballarat Pride in the Victorian Netball League and Dunnstown in the Central Highlands Netball League, will represent the island nation as it vies for a spot in the World Netball Cup next month.

Having previously represented Fiji in the under-21 World Cup in Scotland last year, it will be the second time Costello has represented her country on the world stage at the senior level.

She was called up for a one-off match last year against fifth-ranked Malawi.

Now, she will represent the Fiji Pearls in two separate tri-series tournaments in May and June, as Fiji tries to win its way into the 2015 World Cup.

The 20-year-old will fly to Fiji early next week for the Tri-series Plus One tournament against Northern Ireland and Papua New Guinea in Suva, before venturing to the Cook Islands in June to compete against the host nation, as well as meeting Papua New Guinea again.

Her step-father, Liam Costello, said her selection to the national team was more than justified, but would not have been possible without the support of both Ballarat Pride and Dunnstown.

“Jane’s been extremely dedicated in her training. She has worked so hard for this,” he said.

“Her netball has improved considerably and the Ballarat netball community is to thank for that.”

Having moved to Ballarat late last year to be with her family, Costello has shone on the netball court.

Dunnstown coach Leesa Battistello said the speedy defender would be sorely missed from the CHNL team while she was away.

“She’s been unbelievable to start the year. We’re going to really miss her,” Battistello said.

“She’s quite small in height, but her elevation is amazing. She plays a whole lot taller than she actually is.”

The first tournament will be  from May 6 to 9.