Teams ready to launch
Ready, or not – round one is upon us. Throughout the past couple of months I have had an opportunity to speak with A Grade coaches and-or netball directors from all Horsham District league clubs in the lead-up to the 2018 season.
The Weekly Advertiser’s HDFNL Netball Countdown series provides an in-depth look at how each club is shaping up, with a particular emphasis on A Grade.
On paper, we’ve looked at who’s in, who’s out, aims for the season and so on – and now it’s finally time to see it on the court.
Horsham District league has been hotly contested at the top end of the ladder for the past few years and this season will be no different.
Reigning premier Natimuk United will again be one to watch. The Ewes have retained their core A Grade group for several seasons and their knowledge of how each other plays combined with their experienced heads makes them hard to beat.
Natimuk United will host Noradjuha-quantong first up and spectators will enjoy a competitive encounter from the perennial finals contenders. The Bombers have made several changes throughout the midcourt and in goals and will take a while to gel, but are already showing plenty of promise. There will be significant interest in how a new-look Harrowbalmoral outfit shapes up. The Southern Roos have lost four key players from last year’s grand final team – including decorated leader Ebonie Salter – but incoming playing coach Amy Lewis is confident others will jump at an opportunity to fill their shoes.
One thing is for sure, you can never discount the Roos. The club is a long-time powerhouse of the competition that occasionally needs to re-jig, rather than rebuild.
Harrow-balmoral will host Pimpinio, which will also field a new-look team this year under returning coach Marnie Lehmann.
Much has been written about Laharum’s new ‘discipline’ focus for 2018 and spectators will get their first glimpse of the Demons in action against Kalkee. Co-coach Rebecca Mcintyre is looking for another strong year from her charges and the side will take no prisoners on its way to staking claim on a finals berth – although a young Kalkee outfit will not give up without a fight.
In other matches, Taylors Lake will host Jeparit-rainbow, Edenhope-apsley will welcome Rupanyup and Swifts have a bye.
Here’s to another exciting and competitive season.