Kal­kee strong across all grades

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

In­com­ing Kal­kee A Grade coach Jaymi O’con­nor plans to in­stil a strong game sense across all grades through­out the 2018 Hor­sham District Foot­ball Net­ball League sea­son.

O’con­nor, who joined the club last year from Wim­mera out­fit Hor­sham Demons, said she hoped her ex­pe­ri­ence as a coach and player stood her in good stead for her first A Grade ap­point­ment.

“This will be my first year as an A Grade coach but I have coached se­nior net­ball teams be­fore,” she said.

“I am su­per ex­cited for the chal­lenge of A Grade though.”

O’con­nor said game play and fit­ness were key as­pects of pre-sea­son. “We’ve had a good start,” she said. “We have some re­ally en­thu­si­as­tic girls among the group who are push­ing us all so that we can im­prove on our fit­ness be­fore the sea­son be­gins.

“My main fo­cus as coach is to in­stil a re­ally strong game sense in all of our grades.

“Our girls are very skilled but have lacked an un­der­stand­ing of court struc­tures and ef­fec­tive use of lanes, so hope­fully we can im­prove on that this sea­son.”

O’con­nor said the club had at­tracted fan­tas­tic num­bers at pre-sea­son train­ing and se­lec­tion ses­sions.

“There is a re­ally good vibe among the group,” she said.

“Num­bers are great and we will cer­tainly be field­ing all grades this sea­son. I think all grades should be very com­pet­i­tive, which is an ex­cit­ing sit­u­a­tion for our club.”

Kal­kee’s A Grade fin­ished eighth in 2017.

All other Kees net­ball teams qual­i­fied for fi­nals, with C Grade mak­ing the grand fi­nal.

“We were re­ally dis­ap­pointed with not mak­ing A Grade fi­nals last sea­son,” O’con­nor said.

“We lost some games we should have won early in the sea­son that re­ally cost us.

“We will be hop­ing to make fi­nals this year and then any­thing can hap­pen from there – in fact all grades should be aim­ing for a com­pet­i­tive fi­nals se­ries as we have some re­ally strong in­clu­sions across all four teams.”

O’con­nor, who will play B Grade, has taken over the reins from Bek Har­vey, who will re­main as a player and junior coach.

“We have a few in­clu­sions this sea­son in Jenna By­wa­ters, Britt Nitschke and Clair Mcdon­ald,” she said.

“Th­ese in­clu­sions, plus keep­ing all play­ers bar Anna Ex­ell, will help us build on our im­prove­ments from last sea­son.”

Nitschke and By­wa­ters will add ex­tra strength and ver­sa­til­ity in goals, along­side Ta­mara Ex­ell.

“Our mid­court will re­main sim­i­lar to last sea­son, which is ex­cit­ing be­cause those girls – Emily Han­nan, Grace Braith­waite and Mil­lie Mcrae – just con­tin­ued to im­prove ev­ery week last year,” O’con­nor said.

“Clair’s in­clu­sion will add some height to our de­fen­sive end, which will be great be­cause it will give us more re­bound­ing power.”

Coco Ledgar and Remy Hoff­mann will also re­turn to the Kees’ de­fen­sive line-up this sea­son.

O’con­nor said prepa­ra­tions were pro­gress­ing well in the lead-up to the start of the sea­son on April 7.

“At this stage our fo­cus is just on im­prov­ing fit­ness and pre­par­ing our­selves for round one against La­harum,” she said.

“They are a re­ally strong club and all of their se­nior teams will be a good chal­lenge for us, so we are look­ing for­ward to see­ing where we are at against them.”

Jaymi O’con­nor

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