Dynamic duo to return in coaching capacity
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.