Shepparton News

Sharna has Byrne-ing desire to lift Eagles to greater heights

- By Zac Standish

Mansfield is set to embark on a new era with the Eagles announcing on Monday club stalwart Sharna Byrne will take over the reins as its netball director next year.

This appointmen­t comes after an underwhelm­ing season by the Eagles on the netball court, with none of their five teams qualifying for the finals and their A-grade side only managing to chalk up one win from 11 starts.

A former A-grade player, coach and umpire with Mansfield, Byrne brings a wealth of experience to this role as the club hopes to rebuild its netball program and have all teams make their way back up the ladder next year.

Byrne said she was excited to take on this new role and continue her involvemen­t with Mansfield Football Netball Club.

“I have been part of the Mansfield Football Netball Club for over 30 years and I have done numerous roles within that time, whether that be as a player, coach, umpire, volunteer or supporter,” Byrne said.

“Due to an injury I have been unable to play for the past 20 years, so I like to keep my finger on the pulse and something like this is probably the next best thing behind playing, so I am delighted to have been appointed to this role and cannot wait to get started.”

From a club perspectiv­e, president Ray Robinson said Byrne served as the perfect candidate to take on this position.

“Sharna’s experience and the fact that she has had so many roles involved with both the netball club and general club makes her a great fit,” Robinson said.

“Her knowledge of the game and tenacity to want to do well and instil those facets of the game will be great for us — she is also just such a hard worker and always has the club at heart.

“She will be a breath of fresh air for our netball program and she gets on well with all the girls as well, which definitely help I believe.”

As she embarks on the tough task of rebuilding the program, Byrne highlighte­d some of the obstacles that faced the club and what needs to happen to bring success to the netball courts.

“Mansfield struggles a little bit as do some of the other smaller towns that are involved in the Goulburn Valley League as we don’t have a big pool of players that we can choose from,” she said.

“We have to work really hard to keep our local girls here playing netball, while also trying to attract anyone that might be new to town that plays netball and wants to get involved — so we have to work pretty hard to source players and coaches, so it will be all about just getting in early and doing the best we can to attract new people.”

While attracting new players and coaches is vital, she said the most important part of her role would be developing the club’s youth.

“I love seeing the juniors rise up through the ranks, I have always encouraged juniors to go up and play at senior level and I will be encouragin­g them to do that in this new role,” she said.

“We do have a young side, but every good side starts from somewhere and rises to something bigger — so that’s what we are hoping happens with our netballers and we developmen­t them to a stage that they can do great things for the club in the future.”

Looking to next season, Byrne has one main goal when it comes to Mansfield’s netball program.

“Obviously the last couple of years have been devastatin­g for the entire community, so I am just looking to get people involved with our local club — we are a family-orientated club here at the Mansfield Eagles, so I just want to see as many people as possible back out engaging with each other again.”

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