Saints to field teams in all lev­els

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

Eden­hope-ap­s­ley has had an un­set­tled start to 2018 fol­low­ing talks of a po­ten­tial merger and move to Kowree-nara­coorte-ta­tiara league.

With lead­ers mak­ing the de­ci­sion to re­tain the sta­tus quo, the Saints are now pre­par­ing net­ballers for their lat­est Hor­sham District league cam­paigns.

Net­ball di­rec­tor and A Grade player Cynthia Watt said pre-sea­son was now in full swing, with solid num­bers on the train­ing track.

“We’ve been train­ing a few weeks but it’s still early days,” she said.

“Un­til re­cently we’ve been con­stantly hav­ing merger talks so we were look­ing at num­bers and con­tem­plat­ing shuf­fling teams.

“Now we know what we’re do­ing we can put plans in place.”

Watt said net­ball lead­ers were fo­cus­ing on im­prov­ing play­ers’ fit­ness while pro­vid­ing game-play op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“We’ve been do­ing four 15-minute blocks to im­i­tate a net­ball game,” she said.

“We’ve been in­cor­po­rat­ing a few fun games into our fit­ness sched­ule and also do­ing some court time, which the girls seem to en­joy.

“We have two prac­tice matches com­ing up in the next two months, along with a cou­ple of tri­als against Border Dis­tricts. That will be part of our se­lec­tion process.”

Watt said the club had re­tained the ma­jor­ity of last year’s A Grade play­ers, with the ex­cep­tion of the van Dyke girls, Monica, Ur­sula and Eleanor.

Monica, how­ever, will re­main in a coach­ing ca­pac­ity and has taken over the A Grade lead­er­ship role from Leonie Lang.

“Monica is ex­pect­ing her first baby and she’s ex­cited to be tak­ing on the coach­ing role,” Watt said.

“We’re tak­ing a bit of a dif­fer­ent ap­proach to coach­ing this sea­son.

“Although each grade will have a coach, we’re look­ing at a more col­lab­o­ra­tive ap­proach, with a panel work­ing across the grades.

“They will be work­ing to­gether in ev­ery­thing from Thurs­day night train­ings to our fit­ness camp to game days on Satur­days.”

Watt said she looked for­ward to set­tling teams and pre­par­ing for round one against Ru­pa­nyup.

“We’re keep­ing most of last year’s A Grade play­ers and we might bring up a cou­ple of B Grade play­ers,” she said.

“Last year we were a bit up and down, fill­ing voids cre­ated by leave and hol­i­days, so hope­fully we’ll be a bit more set­tled this year.”

Watt said club lead­ers were happy with last sea­son’s per­for­mances, with A and C grades mak­ing fi­nals.

She said the club would look to en­ter teams in all grades in 2018.

The Saints did not field a 17 and un­der team last year af­ter sev­eral girls moved away for school.

Sarah Do­maschenz will coach the junior side this year.

Watt said the club would also put a C Re­serve team to­gether.

Last year the Saints with­drew from the C Re­serve com­pe­ti­tion due to a lack of num­bers be­fore en­ter­ing a team part-way through the sea­son.

“This year we’re aim­ing to be a com­pet­i­tive club all round,” Watt said.

“Given our num­bers we hope to put to­gether some re­ally com­pet­i­tive net­ball teams.

“We’ve got some re­ally pos­i­tive girls around and we are draw­ing on the ex­pe­ri­ence of some very ex­pe­ri­enced net­ballers.”

Rachael Elm­slie

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