Dy­namic duo to re­turn in coach­ing ca­pac­ity

Seymour Telegraph - - SPORT - By Ali­son O’Con­nor

Sey­mour looks set to be a pow­er­house in Goul­burn Val­ley League net­ball once again af­ter se­cur­ing the ser­vices of a host of its 2015 premier­ship co­hort.

Well­man Fam­ily Medal­list Elle McDon­ald and su­per­star de­fender Sarah Szczykul­ski are re­turn­ing to the Lions in a play­ing and coach­ing ca­pac­ity next year, bring­ing a wealth of ex­pe­ri­ence to the club both on and off the court.

McDon­ald will be the club’s ju­nior devel­op­ment coach and will over­see the devel­op­ment of the Lions’ un­der-17 side and in­au­gu­ral un­der-15 team.

Th­ese sides will be coached by El­lie O’Sul­li­van and Court­ney Al­dous, re­spec­tively, while Szczykul­ski will coach the club’s B-re­serve side.

Sey­mour’s net­ball will once again be led by Laura Car­land, who will coach the A-grade side and act as head coach of the club.

Car­land led the re­build of the Lions’ top-tier team this sea­son af­ter a tu­mul­tuous off-sea­son, which cul­mi­nated in a mem­o­rable away-from-home win against league pow­er­house Euroa in the fi­nal game of the year.

Round­ing out the coach­ing team is Mar­lee Koop­man, who will take the reigns of the B-grade side for sea­son 2018.

Car­land said it was an ex­cit­ing time for the club as it looks to re­turn to the top of the GVL peck­ing or­der.

‘‘Last year it was just El­lie (O’Sul­li­van) and I coach­ing all four teams, so it’s re­ally ex­cit­ing to have six coaches for five teams this year,’’ she said.

‘‘We’ll have one coach per team, and we’ll have Elle (McDon­ald) help­ing with ju­nior devel­op­ment, so the girls in each team will be able to have a lot more of that one-on-one time, rather than the coaches hav­ing to split their at­ten­tion be­tween two teams.

‘‘It’s re­ally ex­cit­ing to have Elle and Sarah (Szczykul­ski) back on board. Elle’s a league medal­list and both girls bring that VNL ex­pe­ri­ence, so their guid­ance and lead­er­ship on-and-off court will be a huge as­set.’’

Club president Craig Velt was thrilled with the Lions’ coach­ing reper­toire for the 2018 sea­son.

‘‘To go from March this year when we still hadn’t se­cured an A-grade coach, to now have six coaches and key play­ers com­ing back, it’s just tes­ta­ment to the morals and the val­ues of the club and I think we’ve got it right for the sea­son ahead,’’ he said.

‘‘We’re look­ing to the fu­ture di­rec­tion of the club to get that su­per-high ex­pe­ri­ence in to our coaches and play­ers at a ju­nior level, and Elle will be able to in­stil that VNL cul­ture in to the whole group.

‘‘She’ll be set­ting the di­rec­tion and over­see­ing the ju­nior groups so that we lift the stan­dard up over­all and bring that skill set to our young girls, and hope­fully that skill set con­tin­ues through the ranks.’’

Car­land was hope­ful that more of the club’s 2015 premier­ship stars would also be re­turn­ing to Lions colours in a play­ing ca­pac­ity for next sea­son.

The Lions’ net­ball pre-sea­son will kick off on Novem­ber 21. The un­der-17 and un­der-15 teams will launch straight in to trails, while the open teams will be­gin tri­alling on De­cem­ber 5.

‘‘Like last sea­son, we’ll just be se­lect­ing a squad to progress through pre-sea­son, and teams won’t be an­nounced un­til the week be­fore the sea­son be­gins,’’ Car­land said.

‘‘We’re hop­ing to have a va­ri­ety of new girls come in to our teams for next sea­son, and the teams def­i­nitely won’t be the same as last year.’’

They’re back: Two of Sey­mour’s 2015 A-grade premier­ship stars, Elle McDon­ald and Sarah Szczykul­ski, are re­turn­ing to the Lions next sea­son in both a play­ing and coach­ing role.

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