MADDIE Smedts will become one of the youngest A grade netball coaches in Hampden league history when she leads Cobden next season.
The 20-year-old’s first season as coach will be her second at the Bombers.
The former North Warrnambool Eagles midcourter has replaced Kerry McGlade in the top job.
Smedts said while the task was slightly daunting for someone her age, she felt ready for more responsibility.
“I’m excited to take on a new opportunity,” she said.
“The transition from player to coach will be a challenge but I feel I am ready for it.
“With the support of the club behind me, it will be a lot easier.
“I was assistant coach last year and I learned a lot through Kerry McGlade and the things she had to say.
“They asked me and at first I was a bit hesitant but I got a lot of encouragement to do it.”
Cobden has regained midcourter Lisa Gardner, who has returned from a year in England, while teenagers Rebecca Rohan and Tess Blake are earmarked for A grade opportunities.
After a disappointing end to the 2012 season where the Bombers dropped their last eight games, Smedts said the side had identified areas where it needed to improve.
“We have a lot of work to do but we aim to become a more professional netball club, have an intense pre-season and bring up a lot of young players,” she said.
“I will try and make the girls as tight-knit on the court as we are off it.
“We are very close friends off the court and we’ll try and put that on the court.
“We are going to work hard fitness-wise and we are going to have a lot more structure.”
Smedts said she was recovering well from a back injury which marred the second half of her season and restricted her to one game in the final six rounds.
She played the last round of the season against her former club.
“It’s really good. I have been running,” she said of her fitness.
“I had a bad ruptured disc and they said to take as much time off as I could and do core strength and exercise.”
Cobden netball co-ordinator Belinda Rohan said Smedts had a great rapport with the Bombers’ young players.
“I just think she’s got a lot to give to the club. Just talking to her, she’s got a great netball mind,” she said. “She’s taken training at Cobden a few times and it was really good.
“And the juniors, they were rapt with Maddie running training.”
Cobden has appointed Suzanne Spokes as Smedts’ assistant.
Spokes comes across from Simpson in the Colac and District league. The Bombers will start their pre-season on November 27.