Big names return to bolster side
Warrack Eagles will be strengthened in 2017 by the return of two Wimmera Netball Association Heather Hatcher medallists.
Experienced defender Penny Fisher and midcourter Sarah Spicer will no doubt have plenty to offer the club on and off the court.
Spicer has stepped up into the A Grade coaching role alongside Jane Richardson.
The pair has taken over the reins from Emma Koschitzke and Zandria Malone, who will coach other grades this season.
Richardson said she was pleased to welcome back two 2015 premiership players.
“Penny is back from a year off following a knee reconstruction, while Sarah had a year off to have a baby,” she said.
“They’re back training and playing well. We also have a couple of potential players we’re talking to.”
The club has retained the majority of last season’s A Grade team, but will be without talented young shooter Ella Bibby in 2017.
“Ella has been selected to play for Ballarat Sovereigns’ under-19 team,” Richardson said.
“We’ve also lost Leiah Mckenzie, who will play for a Ballarat team while she goes to university. Kiani Stewart is off to uni in Bendigo and will play over there.”
Richardson said the Eagles were yet to make team selections, with grading occurring throughout the next few weeks.
She said pre-season was progressing well.
“Our numbers have been really good, even at our very first training night,” she said.
“We have a lot of girls to choose from, including a lot of local girls, which is great.
“We’ll fill all senior teams and we’re hoping to have a 17 and under team this year, depending on numbers.
“There is a really good atmosphere around the club.
“The girls are really happy and enthusiastic and looking forward to the season.”
Richardson said the club was relatively happy with how it fared in 2016.
The Eagles’ A, B and C grades made it through to the semi-finals, while the 13 and unders progressed to a preliminary final.
“I think last year A Grade was happy to make finals considering the departure of so many girls from the year before,” Richardson said.
“The team improved as the season went on. They were disappointed to lose their final by a goal, but overall, they were happy.”
Richardson said all teams would aim to qualify for fi- nals in 2017. “We’ll work on improving what the girls did last year and see how we go,” she said.
She expects the toughest competition to come from ‘the usual suspects’.
“Horsham and Minyip-murtoa will be up there again,” she said.
“From what I’ve been reading in the media, a lot of teams look like they will improve and some have recruited well.
“To read that Nhill is in a much stronger and positive position this year is great. It’s good for the club and the competition.”
Warrack Eagles are training twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Richardson said netballers would play practice matches against Southern Mallee Giants on March 24.
“It will give us a good opportunity to try a lot of different combinations,” she said.
Warrack Eagles start their 2017 Wimmera league campaign against Dimboola at Dimboola on April 22.
WELCOME RETURN: 2015 premiership players Penny Fisher, GD, and Sarah Spicer, C, will return to Warrack Eagles’ A Grade line-up this season.