FEW know about keeping it in the family quite like the Noronha sisters of Flinders.
The 17-year-old identical twins have been selected in the Australian Junior Lawn Bowls team for next month's Trans-Tasman Tests. They are eagerly anticipating their first outing in national colours against bitter rivals New Zealand in Auckland from March 17-23, where they will be part of the triples and fours teams.
The sisters took up bowls four years ago at Warilla High School as "something different".
"We have had a go at pretty much everything and love all sport and have played most sports including basketball, soccer, AFL, Oztag and surfing, but bowls was something different again, so we decided to give it a go," Samantha said.
"Eric Johannes from Warilla Bowling Club was the organiser of the school bowls program and has played a huge part in our involvement in bowls, including encouraging us to try out for the Illawarra Academy of Sport.
"This has led to us being selected in representative teams and with the encouragement from many people including Eric and former Warilla Bowls and Recreation Club general manager Neil Bayo, plus our sponsors Taylor, we have been able to make it all the way to Australian colours."
The girls are in year 12 at Warilla High, but have decided to spread their HSC studies over two years under the Pathways Program.
"It takes a lot of pressure off and allows us to take time off for our bowls commitments, while not ignoring our studies," Natalie said.
The girls agree that they want to make bowls their long-term sporting careers. Both are aiming for university after high school to follow their passion for sport. Samantha hopes to get into physical education or sports management and Natalie physical education or sports psychology.
Both girls are committed to long careers in bowls, but realise it is harder for girls to remain involved after juniors.
"We have had lots of encouragement from current Australian player Natasha Van Eldrik, who made the transition from juniors to seniors, while we also know that a former Warilla junior, Karen Murphy, has made a wonderful bowls career," Natalie said.
Former three-time world champion Leif Selby coaches the girls at Warilla, and has no doubt the twins will both succeed at the highest level.
"Both girls have the dedication and determination to succeed and I am sure they will," Selby said.
"I have seldom seen juniors as keen and in fact I believe they will not only shine in New Zealand, but win gold medals on debut."