Rotorua's Samantha Sinclair has a lot to be proud of as she ended her debut season in the ANZ Championship netball competition.
The 19-year-old and her team, Waikato-Bay of Plenty Kia Magic, fell short of making the grand finals with their loss to the Queensland on Monday night but there are plenty of positives to take, after playing with and against some of the world's best players. She arrived back from Australia last night.
Sinclair's family were watching the game at their Rotorua home with her grandparents making the trip over to Brisbane to support her in the crowd.
"It was a pretty good game, there were some team areas that let them down but overall I think Sam did a really good job," her mother Justine said.
Her family had plans to travel to Australia if they made the grand final but are hoping she will have time for a quick visit back to her hometown instead this week. Sinclair is studying business management at Waikato University.
"She'll have exams to do and training for the Under-23 [Waikato-BAy of Plenty] team, they have their first tournament in July. But we're hoping she will pop back this weekend for the Rotorua rep junior tournament and watch her little sister play."
Mrs Sinclair said it's been a big year so far for her daughter.
"I think that she's probably learnt a heck of lot and matured a lot when she played. You can't help but learn a lot with those stars in her team. She is pretty organised and not only passionate about netball and her studies but she also makes time to be with her friends."
The former John Paul College student was chosen as the starting wing defence during the last few games of the season and showed the passion and tenacity she was known for when representing her school.
"That determination has always been there, she was always pushing herself and was a great role model for the younger students," deputy principal Maree Stewart said.
"You couldn't meet anyone more passionate, she was a driving force for her team."
"She coached the junior teams as well so she gave back to netball and helped our juniors."