Starkey signs with Mathoura net­ball

The Riverine Herald - - SPORT - By Fraser Walker-Pearce

RO­HAN Starkey has re­turned to Mathoura with plans of tak­ing the Tim­ber­cut­ters to the play­offs of the Pi­cola and District Net­ball League.

Af­ter a suc­cess­ful stint with Echuca United — tak­ing the Ea­gles to fifth place on the Mur­ray Net­ball League lad­der with al­most an en­tirely new roster — Starkey has moved back to where it all be­gan. Grow­ing up, Starkey be­gan play­ing net­ball at Mathoura at age eight.

From there he played and coached for an­other 20 years be­fore mak­ing the short drive south to Echuca United as A grade coach.

And now, the 34-year-old has re­turned want­ing to take his boy­hood club to the top of the PDNL.

But Starkey won’t be re­ly­ing on the same youth­ful ex­u­ber­ance that was seen on the courts of Echuca United this time around. ‘‘I’ll have a sim­i­lar ap­proach, so yes and no,’’ Starkey said.

‘‘I talked to a cou­ple of friends about what I wanted to do at the club and I think this time around I will be re­ally look­ing for a mix­ture of youth and ex­pe­ri­ence.

‘‘You need ex­pe­ri­ence in any team re­ally. We had only one or two play­ers with a bit of ex­pe­ri­ence, only a few re­ally good net­ball brains in the team last year, so we’ll be look­ing for a good mix­ture,’’ he said.

Starkey said he held no grudge with Echuca United, and that he en­joyed his time in the Mur­ray Net­ball League — it was just time to move back home.

‘‘I’m just hop­ing to get their A grade team back to be­ing a su­per com­pet­i­tive one, be­cause they have been strug­gling a bit.

‘‘It’s all a bit early for (a re­cruit­ment drive) just yet. I’ll start to get the re­cruit­ment hat on in the next few weeks though.

‘‘Fi­nals will be the goal for Mathoura next year. The league is stick­ing with a top eight, so if we didn’t make the top eight I’d be pretty dis­ap­pointed.

‘‘If we can add just a few play­ers we’ll be right there. We want to play that fan­tas­tic four-quar­ter net­ball that I know we can,’’ he said.

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