SPORT Dreaming of back-to-back
Despite the loss of critical experience, the Lady Warriors aim for consecutive titles
THE quest for back-toback North East conference premierships is on track, but Wangaratta Lady Warriors will be facing a new look competition in the 2018-19 season.
The Lady Warriors will face fresh competition from Kyneton Tigers, while Swan Hill Lady Flyers, Bendigo Braves and Maryborough Blazers will all return to the conference.
“We are hopeful of going back-to-back, that has been the aim all preseason,” Lady Warriors’ coach Craig Northey said.
“Most of the girls played deep into the netball season and we will be missing a few of them for the first two rounds.”
Abbey Chapman and Alaana Northey will not suit up for the Warriors in round one’s clash with Myrtleford next Saturday night, but the woe doesn’t end there for the reigning North East conference champions.
Jade McCowan (knee), Catherine Guest (work) and Rachel Jeffery (season off) will not return for the Warriors and all will leave a significant hole in the line up.
“It will hurt; Jade obviously tried to play through it last year and her impact will be missed,” Northey said.
“Catherine said she would love to come back but just can’t commit with work commitments, while Rachel has had a massive Big V season and just needs a break; she hasn’t entirely ruled out a return next season.
“Her on- and off-court impact around the group will be sorely missed.” Northey expects the likes of Chloe Storer, Loni Strickland and Chelsea Gilchrist to have big roles.
“Chloe can only rise again,” he said.
“She has had a good offseason, I think Loni will have a better season this year while Chelsea is back from a knee injury and we have her full time now.”
As for the competition, Northey isn’t too worried about the North East.
“We have to travel more this year,” he said.
“We will play against some different teams and it will be a different looking conference to last year. “I am confident still.
“One team to watch will be Wodonga, by the looks of it they have named the junior Bandits squad.”
As for his final squad, Northey said he is still confirming a few players.
“I don’t want to confirm anything just yet,” he said.
“I am still waiting to hear back from a few players; nothing is concrete just yet.
“I know that as a club we will be promoting some of the younger girls this year; it’s looking exciting.
“We just need to get the missing players back after the first couple of rounds so we can build from there.”
CHAMPS: A consecutive North East conference premiership is the aim for the Lady Warriors.