Dana Johannsen

Dana Johannsen is the NZ Herald’s chief sports reporter

Junior van Dyk set for on-screen debut

Irene Van Dyk with her husband Christie and daughter Bianca who is playing in the Wellington Girl's High School first grade netball team. Photo / New Idea
Irene Van Dyk with her husband Christie and daughter Bianca who is playing in the Wellington Girl's High School first grade netball team. Photo / New Idea

Having your first College Netball game televised nationwide would be a daunting experience for any youngster.

Fortunately, Bianca van Dyk, daughter of Silver Ferns star Irene - the greatest goal shoot to play the game - understands a wee bit about pressure.

She has probably been earmarked as a future Silver Fern since before she even picked up a netball.

It doesn't hurt that at just 12 years old, Bianca is already 1.86m tall and the spitting image of her mother.

Tomorrow, fans will get their first glimpse of the young goal shoot on court when her Wellington Girls' College side take on Palmerston North's Tu Toa in their College Netball clash in Porirua.

The match, which will be broadcast on Sky, will double as a curtain-raiser for the round nine transtasman league clash between the Central Pulse and Queensland Firebirds.

Bianca is aware of the expectations placed on her because of her famous mother, but said she doesn't let that affect her.

"You do sometimes get the odd parent saying things, but you just need to try to put that to the back of your mind and not worry about that pressure," she said.

"I'm a wee bit nervous, but I'm really excited as well."

With such a strong pedigree, it is clear Bianca has a big future in the game, but even she was surprised when she made the senior A team in her first year of high school.

"I wanted to [make the top team] so I gave it my best. But I knew that since I am quite young, if I didn't make it, it wouldn't be the end of the world."

So how does mum feel about Bianca's achievements? "I'm unbelievably proud," said Irene. "I said to Bianca before she got selected that it's quite scary. People don't laugh any more if you drop the ball - it's quite serious now. I just want her to be able to enjoy it as much as she can for as long as she can."

But Bianca said she was enjoying the more challenging and structured trainings of high school netball.

Even at such a young age, she is already displaying the work ethic her mother is famous for.

She sometimes spends up to an hour a day practising her shooting and is keen to soak up any knowledge her superstar mum can impart - "when she's home".

Fortunately, Irene will still be home tomorrow to watch her daughter play in her biggest game yet in her fledgling career.

The Silver Fern great will then fly to Tauranga to join her Magic teammates ahead of Monday night's ANZ Championship clash against the New South Wales Swifts.

"I can't wait to be there to cheer them on," said Irene.

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf03 at 23 Dec 2014 04:41:04 Processing Time: 516ms