Warrack Eagles will look to push further into Wimmera Netball Association finals in 2018 after retaining the majority of the club’s A Grade team.
Playing coach Sarah Spicer, who will again share the role with non-playing Jane Richardson, said it would be business as usual as the team looked to build on its strong foundations.
“We ended up finishing third on the ladder last year and fourth in finals,” she said.
“Our aim is to finish in the top three again and then to go one better in finals.
“Our major goal is always a premiership, but if you can go one better than the year before then that’s good too.”
Spicer said she and Richardson had selected a squad of nine instead of 10 this season.
“Not much has changed in A Grade, really,” she said.
“The main difference will be that I only played three games last year and then I had to have a knee reconstruction, so I’ll be right to play sometime after May.
Megan Werner, Briodi Mckenzie, Emma Koschitzke, Penny Fisher, Jess Kelly, Britenie Power, Jenna Schulz and Zandria Malone are all back for another season.
All eight played A Grade matches at some stage last year.
Spicer said she was expecting all her charges to play their role, however she
was expecting midcourter-defender Kelly to step up this season.
“Jess has come a long way in the past three years and I’m looking forward to seeing her continue on. Her fitness is really good and she’s been training well,” she said.
“I’m hoping Briodi can step up in goals this year and I think she will. She’s also looking really fit.
“In saying that, I’m expecting everyone to do what I know they are capable of. They’re all good players, that’s why they’re in A Grade. I’m looking for them to be competitive and consistent each week.”
Spicer said pre-season was travelling well, with the club attracting good numbers again this year.
She said a highlight for 2018 was the return of a 17 and under team.
“We haven’t had the numbers in our juniors to have under-17s for a couple of years and to have a team again was definitely an aim for the club this year,” she said.
“Although we’ve had strong senior numbers we haven’t had the opportunity to bring up juniors through the senior ranks and provide them with that experience.
“We’ve only just got enough for under-17s and an under-15 team but we’re hoping to continue to build up our juniors and we’re excited about working with them this year.”
The Eagles had another good season on the court in 2017, with A, B and C grades all enjoying a taste of finals action.
“Our B Grade made it to the grand final, which they haven’t done in a while. Making finals in all three senior grades is a very healthy sign for the club and we’ll be out to do the same this year. With the teams we have I think we are capable of it and hopefully we will all be able to go a step further,” Spicer said.
The Eagles will start their 2018 campaign when they host league newcomer and fellow Yarriambiack force Southern Mallee Giants on April 14.
“It’s going to be weird because I’m a Warrack girl and growing up we always had a rivalry with Beulah, even though we were in different leagues,” Spicer said.
“I think it’ll be great to have another team in the competition though. I’m not too sure what to expect from them but I guess we’ll see soon enough.
“I’m looking forward to the season starting. After you put in eight to 10 weeks of pre-season, you’re ready to be rewarded with some time on the court.”