One step fur­ther

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Netball Countdown - BY SARAH SCULLY

No­rad­juha-quan­tong will con­tinue to fo­cus on suc­ces­sion plan­ning in 2017 as the club of­fers its tal­ented ju­niors more time in se­nior ranks.

De­fender Yolly Fran­cis and shooter Sharon Fedke have re­turned to the coach­ing helm and will look to go one step fur­ther this sea­son.

The Bombers A Grade en­joyed a strong 2016 but fell short of the ul­ti­mate prize, go­ing down to a stel­lar Har­rowBal­moral out­fit in the grand fi­nal by 22 goals.

Fran­cis said the club had lost two key play­ers in the off­sea­son, with league best and fairest run­ner-up Brooke Pay tak­ing a year off net­ball and goalie Sammi Avery head­ing to uni­ver­sity.

“It will be sad not to have them around this year, but I know they’ll be back when the time is right,” she said.

Fran­cis said the Bombers had a cou­ple of solid re­place­ments in the pipeline, in­clud­ing a returning player and an­other from a top-six club, but were await­ing con­fir­ma­tion.

“We also have a very tal­ented bunch of un­der-17s com­ing up into se­niors this year,” she said.

“They will slot in eas­ily be­cause we worked them into se­niors last year.

“We also have a few ladies com­ing back from hav­ing ba­bies, which is great.”

Fran­cis said the club would not have any trou­ble fill­ing all grades, with a large group of ju­niors to help fill gaps left by peo­ple tak­ing a year off or un­avail­able be­cause of fam­ily com­mit­ments.

League 17 and Un­der best and fairest Maddi Focroul is ex­pected to again have an im­pact in A Grade, with ju­niors Lucy Brand and Ge­or­gia Lowe set to ben­e­fit from more se­nior ex­pe­ri­ence.

Teams are yet to be an­nounced and will be de­ter­mined through­out pre-sea­son.

The Bombers have been run­ning pre-sea­son train­ing ses­sions twice a week since Jan­uary 30.

Fran­cis said they were pro­gress­ing well.

“On the first night we had 32 net­ballers, which is fan­tas­tic,” she said

“Our ju­niors are show­ing in­ter­est and com­ing to these ses­sions as well, which we en­cour­age be­cause it helps grow that bond be­tween ju­nior and se­nior net­ballers. Carly Creek has done a moun­tain of work plan­ning out the whole pre­sea­son sched­ule, fo­cus­ing not just on fit­ness, but on ball skills and game play to en­sure we are ready to fire by round one.”

Fran­cis said there was plenty of en­thu­si­asm around the club as net­ballers looked for­ward to an­other sea­son.

“We had an ex­tremely suc­cess­ful 2016, with all our ju­nior and se­nior net­ball teams mak­ing fi­nals and three sides play­ing on the big day in Septem­ber,” she said.

“We are aim­ing for this suc­cess again and I think we are more than ca­pa­ble with such a strong field of net­ballers.”

Fran­cis said she ex­pected an­other hotly con­tested A Grade sea­son in 2017.

“There seems to be a bit of move­ment in most of the top teams from last year but noth­ing too ma­jor,” she said.

“I think all top-six teams from last year will still be up there in 2017. Har­row-bal­moral will re­tain the bulk of its list and will be tough again, La­harum will again be strong and same with Na­timuk.

“I think Kal­kee will see a bit of a rise as they have some very tal­ented young­sters to mix with the ex­pe­ri­enced girls.

“As for us, our A Grade draw is very tough this year, play­ing all top-five teams from last year twice.

“We know we are up against a bit of a chal­lenge but we’ll just take it game by game.”

No­rad­juha-quan­tong will start its 2017 cam­paign against Eden­hope-ap­s­ley, at Ap­s­ley, on April 8.

League 17 and Un­der best and fairest Maddi Focroul is ex­pected to again have an im­pact in A Grade.

Carly Creek

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