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New Zealand U21 star Hannah Broederlow loves to be disruptive.

You would hardly guess from talking to her, but the exceptionally gracious and polite 20-year-old defender is, quite simply, a menace on the netball court.

It seems it's how she gets her kicks.

"What I love about being a defender is being able to disrupt the attacking line.

"When there's a held ball or they throw the ball out the back of the court it's a really good feeling," said Broederlow, who is playing for Otago at this week's national netball championships in Rotorua.

But when it comes to her own progress on the netball court, it seems there is little anyone can do to disrupt the giant strides Broederlow has already made in her fledgling career.

Broederlow, who is tipped to be among the next big names in the sport, is likely to be one of the first names pencilled in by national U21 coach Yvette McCausland-Durie when she compiles her line-up for next year's World Youth Cup.

A squad of up to 20 will be named tomorrow following the championships.

McCausland-Durie confirms the star defender is a "99.9 per cent certainty" to make the squad, but Broederlow would never consider her position in the team a given.

Despite being one of the standout players in the NZ U21 side during the last three years and having been elevated into the New Zealand A squad last week, Broederlow is anxiously awaiting the announcement of the squad.

"I guess it has been at the back of my mind at the tournament.

"I just want to go out and play the best I can and know I've done all I can do," she said.

"World Youth Cup is the pinnacle for the under-21 programme, so to be eligible for that tournament is huge and I would really love to be there."

But Broederlow, who studies biochemistry and nutrition at Otago University, knows hearing her name read out is only the beginning.

She said the New Zealand players have a huge amount of work to do if they are to retain the world junior crown.

The Kiwi side suffered a demoralising 74-35 defeat to the Australian U21s in a curtain-raiser for the senior sides in Christchurch last month.

Broederlow said the team took the loss very hard, but is determined to grow from it.

"It was pretty tough to go out thinking you had the ability to beat them and then to come off the court at the end down by 39 goals really hurt," she said.

"But in saying that it also makes you go away and want to work harder and play better and do everything you can so next time you play them you're ready for it."

For Broederlow, the match served as a sobering reminder of the gulf between the two countries when it comes to player depth and resources.

"I think, with the Australian team, most of them all live and train together at the Australian Institute of Sport so they spend a lot of time together building for games.

"In the last match we only came together a week beforehand and I think that really showed in our performance," she said.

"So following the naming of the squad, I think the squad is going to put in a huge amount of training and work over the summer and leading up to the tournament, but I definitely think we are capable of beating them."

And Broederlow certainly isn't adverse to a bit of hard work.

McCausland-Durie said it is Broederlow's high work-rate and strong training ethic that sets her apart from her peers.

"One of the things she's very consistent about is that she has an awesome work ethic with everything she does," the NZ U21 coach said.

Along with putting in the hard yards at training, McCausland-Durie said her young charge is also prepared to put in the hours developing the mental side of her game and is becoming a shrewd tactician.

The New Zealand U21 programme is considered the breeding ground for future internationals, with Silver Ferns stars Casey Williams, Laura Langman and Maria Tutaia all members of the 2005 World Youth Cup winning team.

McCausland-Durie believes Broederlow has the potential to follow in the footsteps of her contemporaries and achieve great things on the international stage.

After making the World Youth Cup team, Broederlow's next big goal is to make the step up to ANZ Championship level with the hopes of then going on to play for the Silver Ferns.

But the youngster, who hails from Palmerston North, isn't in a hurry to play in the transtasman league. Broederlow knows it was in her best interests not be in an ANZ Championship squad this year as it has given her the chance to get more playing experience under her belt.

"I've really enjoyed not being a part of it this year because I've had lots of game time in other competitions.

"I don't know if my netball game would have progressed the way I'd like to if I'd made one of those teams and sat on the bench throughout the season."

Because it's hard to be disruptive when you're sitting on the bench.