Shepparton News

BACK IN REDLEGS SADDLE

PELLEGRINO STAYS ON BOARD AT REDLEGS AS SHE PREPARES TO STEER TEAM’S GRADUAL IMPROVEMEN­T

- By Zac Standish

After a season of gradual improvemen­t on the netball court Longwood has wasted no time in once again securing the services of A-grade coach Megan Pellegrino for next year.

Taking the reins prior to the 2020 season, the COVID-19 pandemic has restricted Pellegrino to featuring on the sidelines on 11 occasions, of which her team only managed to chalk up one win.

However, more competitiv­e showings against the league’s top sides would prove a silver lining for the Redlegs following their 15thplaced finish this year.

Pellegrino said she was determined to bring success to Longwood as she embarks on her second full season at the helm.

“I am beyond excited and stoked to be leading the girls at Longwood again in 2022, there is definitely a fire in the belly,” Pellegrino said.

“It was a no-brainer for me to come back and coach for 2022, this year we really started to see our A-grade team start to challenge some of those top sides — so I am just excited to see what the girls can do with another preseason, because I know the potential and ability is there.”

Dropping the first four games of the season, Pellegrino would pick up her first win as coach in a round 5 triumph against Ardmona, before the Redlegs went on a sixgame losing streak to close out the season.

Although the results did not quite go their way she ref lected positively on this year’s season.

“Coming out of COVID was a challenge for everybody, our preseason fitness certainly showed we had been in lockdown — but to their credit all of the girls pushed really hard,” she said.

“We did face a lot of soft tissue injuries in the early rounds, which was to be expected from our trainer’s point of view due to the fact we hadn’t done much the year before — but aside from those challenges the girls worked very hard, we started to see improvemen­t early which was really exciting.

“Playing against sides we would have lost to by 80 goals the last time we played them and losing by 20 or so this year — even though the wins may not have been there this season we did certainly see some growth.”

With her sights now firmly set on how the team can improve further and rewarding the girls’ efforts with more wins on the board, Pellegrino explained what was required for the Redlegs to take themselves to a new level.

“Pre-season is the key, we are very focused on our pre-season being an earlier start, so we will launch it much earlier than ever before, therefore giving us the upper hand of our fitness levels being sorted by early next year so we can begin working on our set plays and game strategy,” she said.

“Across the board there is so much talent out there from our A-grade to junior girls and in the past I don’t think they have had the structure of how to bring that together and play as a team, when I first went out to Longwood it was very much individual­ly talented people rather than one talented team.

“What excites me is knowing we have that talent out there and now it is about bringing that together and working out the right combinatio­ns of play for people that bring out their strengths.”

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 ??  ?? Megan Pellegrino
Megan Pellegrino

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