Coach looks to long-term se­cu­rity

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Netball Countdown - BY SARAH SCULLY

Con­cern Tay­lors Lake did not have a vi­sion for the fu­ture prompted Gab Mccul­loch to take on her first A Grade coach­ing role last year.

She knew it would not be easy – the Lak­ers did not field an A Grade side in 2016 due to a lack of se­nior play­ers – but she knew it was nec­es­sary to help en­sure the club’s longevity.

The Lak­ers might not have won any games in their first year back in the com­pe­ti­tion, but Mccul­loch took sev­eral pos­i­tives from the sea­son.

While she is aware it is slow go­ing, Mccul­loch plans to con­tinue play­ing a lead role in the club’s re­build­ing phase, which is oc­cur­ring in both foot­ball and net­ball ranks.

“It is chal­leng­ing, be­cause we’re not about to win any flags any time soon. It’s hard go­ing through the year with no wins and it’s al­ways go­ing to be dif­fi­cult to keep peo­ple. We are re­build­ing and our re­sults won’t be im­me­di­ate. These things take time and com­mit­ment, from both foot­ball and net­ball sides of the club,” she said.

Mccul­loch said the club wanted to recog­nise peo­ple who had ded­i­cated their time to the club and stuck to­gether through tough times by re­ward­ing them with key play­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“Our long-term plan is still the same – work­ing with our tal­ented ju­niors to make them the A Graders of the fu­ture and re­tain­ing and re­ward­ing our lo­cal girls by

giv­ing them op­por­tu­ni­ties to play in prime po­si­tions,” she said.

“We are work­ing re­ally hard to rebuild and get stronger. It is no good for morale to get beaten ev­ery week and it’s no good for the other A Grade sides to come out and win by such big mar­gins against us.

“We’re work­ing on ma­tur­ing our play­ers and we hope our op­po­nents will be re­spect­ful of that.”

Train­ing

Tay­lors Lake net­ballers have started train­ing ses­sions at Dock Lake Re­cre­ation Re­serve on Thurs­day nights at 6.15pm.

Mccul­loch said the club’s net­ballers gath­ered for a meet and greet last week.

“That went okay,” she said. “We’ve got lots of young play­ers, but it’s hard to tell how many peo­ple we have from the first train­ing. “I’m hop­ing af­ter this week’s train­ing ses­sion we will get a bet­ter idea of numbers. I’m also hop­ing we’ll at­tract a few more ‘ma­ture’ play­ers.”

Mccul­loch said at this stage, the club planned to fill all se­nior and ju­nior grades.

“Our ini­tial aim was to bring up some of our young ones into se­nior ranks,” she said.

“We won the un­der-13 premier­ship in 2015 then the un­der-15 premier­ship last year. We have re­tained most of those play­ers and our five-year goal is to keep re­tain­ing them and push them into se­nior sides.

“Un­for­tu­nately we might have to put them into prime po­si­tions ear­lier than I had hoped. We’ll wait and see what numbers we have be­fore de­cid­ing who plays where.”

One player set to re­turn to A Grade is Sammi Apos­tolopou­los, who joined the club as a key de­fender in 2017.

“Sammi is re­ally sup­port­ive of the young play­ers. She is re­ally lov­ing and en­cour­ag­ing,” Mccul­loch said.

“Although she’s come from a re­ally suc­cess­ful club in No­rad­juha-quan­tong she is the first to say to the young ones, ‘it doesn’t mat­ter if we don’t win, just go out and have fun and try your best’. I’d love a few more of Sammi on the team.”

Mid­courters Nel­lie Red­ford and Tia-ana Parker will also re­turn, but the team will be with­out de­fender Au­drey De­lahunty and goalie Zara Sta­ples.

Mccul­loch en­cour­aged any­one in­ter­ested in play­ing net­ball this sea­son to at­tend a train­ing ses­sion.

Sammi Apos­tolopou­los

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