Mardi Aplin knows first hand how important it is to develop talent in regional areas.
Now the Orange netball great will get the chance to do just that after being appointed by Netball NSW as their new head coach of the regional emerging team.
"It's a fantastic opportunity. I've come through the pathway and understand how tough it is to go down to Sydney and compete with the metro kids," Aplin said.
Next year, athletes from across the state will trial for the NSW under 17s and 19s sides. After those two teams are selected, an additional two sides (regional and metro) will be picked. That group of regional players is who Aplin will take charge of.
"It's any athletes who were unlucky to not make the actual team but have a lot of potential to grow within our pathway," she said.
"This part of the pathway is awesome to give these kids exposure to the emerging elite pathways and behaviours that you learn within these programs.
"It also runs alongside the state program, so some of these athletes may also be training partners or reserves for the state teams."
Applying for this position was just like any other job; submit an application, go through the interview process and wait for the call to say you've been hired.
"I'm obviously a really proud regional person. I get to teach these emerging athletes who are the ones potentially disappointed that they've missed out but will be super hungry to learn and grow and hopefully make the team the following year.
"It's a great space to be in as a coach and I'm honoured to lead the regionals."
Her side will be made up of regional athletes from all across NSW.
Once selected, they will meet six times over a 12 week period, while also undertaking training at home.
Then at the end of April, both the metro and regional sides will travel down to the Australian Institute of Sport to compete against each other.
"The exposure that the athletes actually get from being involved in this team is fantastic and it can keep them moving along the pathway," Aplin added.
The regional assistant coach will be Amy Quirk from Hastings Valley.