Mcculloch building for future
Taylors Lake netball leaders have used an A Grade hiatus in 2016 to ensure the club’s longevity in Horsham District Football Netball League.
Netball director Audrey Delahunty said the league’s decision to allow the club to play without an A Grade team for a year had enabled it to refocus and plan for the future.
The club requested to be omitted from the A Grade competition last year because of a lack of players and depth.
Delahunty said the season’s break was long enough for the club to be more competitive in 2017.
“We spent a lot of time last year building up the players we’ve got and preparing for this year,” she said. “We worked on attracting players and appointing coaches.
“Appointing our coaches has been a massive gain. They are all really dedicated and keen to develop players for the future.”
Delahunty said Gab Mcculloch’s appointment as A Grade coach for 2017 was a win for the club.
“Gab played B Grade last year and we mentioned coaching A Grade to her a few times, hoping she would be interested,” she said.
“We’re really happy she took on the role. She is looking long-term and trying to improve the players we have and build us up for the future.”
Mcculloch said she agreed to take on the A Grade role after ‘officially’ retiring.
“I have three boys who are young enough to be at the club for another 10 years or so,” she said.
“I was worried we didn’t have a vision for the future.
“I want to work with the junior coaches to develop a culture that is a nice environment for those kids to move up into.
“That’s why I accepted the role – I want to help build up the club.”
Mcculloch said the Lakers would have a strong focus on junior development this year.
“We’re looking to the future and trying to consolidate the juniors who won the 13 and under grand final two years ago to create a future A Grade,” she said.
“It’s not going to happen overnight. We are in the rebuilding stage. We’re not judging success by winning. We’re focusing on teaching sportsmanship, team work and learning skills. Hopefully the young girls can all stay together. They’re top-age 15 and unders this year. Hopefully we’re looking at finals success again with these girls.”
Mcculloch said the club’s young talent was also key to future senior success.
“If we can partner those young girls with some of our more mature girls it will be a good mix of youth and experience,” she said.
“It is a matter of keeping those girls together.”
Mcculloch said there was a positive feeling at the club.
“We’ve started pre-season training and we’ve had good numbers,” she said.
Delahunty said the club had not lost any players from last season and had welcomed several new faces.
“We’re not sure which grades they’ll all play yet because we haven’t picked teams and we don’t want to assume,” she said.
She said one player set to line up in A Grade was experienced midcourter Nat Lienert.
“Nat’s from the Mildura league and has played A Grade for about 15 years,” she said.
“She came out for a look last year and is keen to play this year. She’ll play A Grade and she’ll also be coaching B Grade.
“Kate Howden is likely to return to the club to play A Grade this year.
“She’s a midcourter but she also plays defence. She’s pretty versatile.”
Delahunty said pre-season was well underway, with players focusing on fitness under the guidance of Katie Robinson.
Team selections start this week.
STEPPING UP: Several of Taylors Lake’s 2016 B Grade players, pictured during Horsham District league’s Indigenous round last year, will move up into A Grade for the 2017 season.