Coach looks to long-term security
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.”
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.