Shepparton News

Vick has unfinished business as coaches saddle up again

- By Meg Saultry

Echuca was on the cusp of something special this season.

With five netball grades readying for a finals series, the Murray Bombers now carry two years of unfinished business with them.

But it’s not just the players who want to translate that hard work into premiershi­p success when the Goulburn Valley League returns next year.

As such, A-grade coach Steph Vick leads a host of coaching reappointm­ents at Victoria Park, with Gina Pearson also remaining at the helm of this year’s undefeated B-grade team.

Krissy Oliver will mentor the under-17s again, while Belinda Lees steps into a new role as netball developmen­t co-ordinator.

Vick said she had enjoyed her past two seasons in charge of Echuca’s A-grade team and was looking forward to doing it again next year.

‘‘I feel there is a lot of unfinished business; this is coming up to my third term in this role and we are yet to see a finals series because they’ve been cancelled,” Vick said.

‘‘We’ve worked so hard and had such a promising year and such strength throughout all of our teams, not just A-grade, so it was a little disappoint­ing not to see the finished product.’’

Leading the team through a global pandemic and two unfinished seasons was not something Vick expected when taking on the top job ahead of the 2020 season.

However, she staunchly believes the past two years haven’t been for nothing.

‘‘I don’t ever look at it as a failure, or a wasted year,” she said.

"It’s just not the outcome we had hoped for.

‘‘We have so much strength and with everything opening up and vaccinatio­n rates going up, I’m hoping next year we’ll have a lot less disruption­s and we will be able to finish off the work.’’

Echuca netball president Michael Devlin said it was an easy decision to have all four mentors go around again.

“We were very happy with the performanc­e of all our teams this year,” Devlin said.

“You look at our A-grade netball; they were on top the week before the final round and probably missed top spot by a couple goals in that last game.

“B-grade were undefeated, B-res second and under-17s were equal second, so it was pretty strong performanc­es across the board.

“We felt we are in good hands. So the coaches who agreed to go again have been reappointe­d because we are happy with the job they are doing.”

Vick said the coaching group had worked tirelessly together to make sure every grade was connected.

‘‘We’ve focused a lot on inclusion and making sure that everybody was involved; even playing the same systems, so when there was opportunit­y for players to play up they didn’t feel like they were out of place,” she said.

‘‘Every team was connected and playing really well and were all looking at a finals series.

‘‘Next year we are hoping all the hard work we’ve been doing the last couple of years will pay off and we can see some reward.’’

The club is also seeking expression­s of interest for its B-reserve and under-15 coaching positions.

 ?? ?? Steph Vick
Steph Vick

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