When Arlyta Andrew joined her local quidditch club only 3 months ago, she certainly would not have expected to be representing her state in the sport. But that’s exactly what transpired after the NSW State squad was announced by Quidditch New South Wales earlier this week.
Arlyta was selected for the NSW B-team, who will face Queensland in the upcoming State of Origin in Sydney on October 9th, while the A-team will go up against Victoria. Five Weasleys players recently attended trials run by a panel of state selectors, with Arlyta emerging successful.
“I’m very excited,” said Arlyta of her State selection. “I can’t wait to see what the team has in store for me!”
2016 marks the first year that a state representative quidditch tournament has ever been held – all previous national competition has remained between clubs from across the country. This makes Arlyta the first Weasleys player to represent NSW in Macarthur’s club history.
Arlyta made her tournament debut in Newcastle’s annual Midwinter Tournament held in July, where she played 7 matches for the Weasleys. In her next tournament appearance the following month in Canberra, she gained the attention of NSW State Head Coach and selector, Bianca Connell.
“I was impressed with how she performed on the pitch and was amazed to learn that this was one of her first tournaments,” said Connell.
“Arlyta has proven herself to be a great team player with excellent ball handling skills and has shown great adaptability for the complex sport that is quidditch.”
Quidditch attracts a wide variety of new players, ranging from people with a lot of previous sporting experience, right down to those who have never participated in fitness activities before. Arlyta is from the former category.
“Since I was eighteen I have been playing netball however I have also played the usual sports for a season or two such as soccer and touch football,” said Arlyta.
In addition to the weekly Weasleys club training sessions, Arlyta spends a lot of time on her fitness.
“I run 5kms at least twice a week and go to crossfit about 4 days a week. I especially love the challenge and competitiveness of crossfit as it keeps me on my toes and you always have to work hard.”
Arlyta first discovered quidditch when she stumbled upon a Quidditch NSW information stall at the Sydney Supanova pop culture convention in June. It was her love of Harry Potter and sports that immediately won her over.
“The combination to me was irresistible!”
After attending some local training sessions with the Macarthur Weasleys and playing her first tournament, Arlyta fell in love with the sport.
“I love the competition first and foremost, as I am a very competitive person.”
But mostly I love the heart and passion of the people that play it. The chants and constant motivation when playing a game are all very attractive qualities to have in a sport.”
“I feel that it is something that is missing from some of the more commonly played sports. Quidditch has a lot of soul!”
After passing the gruelling selection trials, Arlyta will now train with the NSW squad in preparation for the main event in October.
The year’s inaugural quidditch State of Origin program consists of 9 matches between NSW and VIC, split over 3 tournaments or rounds. The upcoming final round will also introduce the Queensland state team playing against the NSW B team. Origin 3 will be held on October 9th, at UNSW David Phillips Field, Daceyville.
The results so far:
ROUND 1, February 6-7, Berry Sport and Recreation Centre, NSW
WINNERS: VICTORIAN LEADBEATERS
Game 1: VIC defeated NSW 130*-40
Game 2: NSW defeated VIC 100*- 60
Game 3: VIC defeated NSW 160*-10
ROUND 2, March 4-5, La Trobe University, VIC
WINNERS: NSW BLUETONGUE WIZARDS
Game 4: NSW defeated VIC 60*-40
Game 5: VIC defeated NSW 80*-50
Game 6: NSW defeated VIC 100*-80
Check out the Facebook event here for the final round of Quidditch State of Origin.