Howard, 17, reaches 200 games is an ‘inspiration for other juniors’

YOUNG LEADER: Kira Howard says learning from the senior netball players in A-grade is helping her captain the under-17 squad for Hepburn.
YOUNG LEADER: Kira Howard says learning from the senior netball players in A-grade is helping her captain the under-17 squad for Hepburn.

Kira Howard may have just turned 17, but she has already reached the special milestone of 200 games for Central Highlands Netball League club Hepburn, which takes on Ballan on Saturday.

Howard started playing for Hepburn when she was about nine years old in the under-13 B squad, when her mother was still playing senior netball for the club. 

“I’m excited (about reaching 200 games),” Howard said. “I feel like I’ve been playing forever.” 

She made her A-grade debut two years ago and has now earned a regular spot as well as captaining the under-17 side. 

She said while it was tiring playing multiple games on the one day, her experiences in the senior side helped her lead the under-17 team. 

“They are a lot older and rougher so you learn things off your teammates that you can use in under-17s as well,” she said.

Hepburn’s A-grade coach Gary Cooke said with her netball smarts and exciting style of play, he believed she had what it took to become one of the best A graders. 

“She is pretty dynamic, she is a solid midcourter with some beautiful speed about her and she is quite tenacious,” Cooke said.

“She is a really good attacking centre and versatile… there is a lot more to come out of her.”

Howard’s coach said she is the type of player to seek feedback from the senior players around her, she challenges herself with every task and always gives 100 per cent at training. 

Cooke said while still a junior herself, Howard was an inspiration to others coming through the junior ranks.

“I was just really impressed that someone at her age has already reached 200 games for the one club,” Cooke said. 

“It just shows how much netball she has put in over the years… and if she keeps going she could crack 400 games.”