PORT Fairy coach Emma O’Keeffe will re-sign with the Seagulls as she looks to complete the job she started.
The star defender, who crossed from Warrnambool this season, led the club to its highest regular season finish in 13 years before being eliminated from the finals with consecutive losses.
O’Keeffe revealed after Sunday’s first semi-final loss to North Warrnambool Eagles she had verbally committed to the club.
“I’m going to sign on for next year in the next couple of weeks,” she said.
“My work isn’t finished yet.”
O’Keeffe said she and senior football coach Sam Rudolph, who is also in his first year of a two-year deal, were keen to push on with several initiatives.
“Sam is around again and we want to change the culture of the club a bit. They haven’t had a lot of success and we want to put things in place to make them more successful.”
She said the Seagulls’ rise from wooden spooner last year to fourth this year would go down as a successful season. But the hurt of bowing out with consecutive losses was part of climbing the ladder.
“It is disappointing but we’ve come from the bottom and finished third or fourth. It takes a bit of time to get everyone going. It’s all part of it.”
The club’s netball progress has been marked. Both its A and A1 sides finished on the bottom in 2012 with four wins between them. The A2 finished third with 14 wins but was eliminated in the preliminary final. This year the club’s A2 side advanced to the grand final on Saturday with a one-goal victory, while the A1 side took a big step forward, finishing sixth with eight wins, five more than last season.
“We’ve already improved dramatically across the senior grades,” she said.
O’Keeffe said she felt the A grade side’s form had dipped in the second half of the season after promising a lot. The Seagulls won the pre-season Hampden league competition and also did well in the pre-season regional state league competition.
She said the players, who represented the Port Fairy association, not the club, would discuss whether participating in the regional state league competition was ideal.
“I don’t think I would like to do it again. For me it’s a long season, it’s a lot of games, it really adds another two months to the season but it’s up to the girls,” she said.