SOUTH Rovers have pulled off the recruiting coup of the netball off-season, luring gun goal shooter Narelle Welsh to Walter Oval.
Welsh, 26, joins South Rovers after a three-season stint at Camperdown, which followed time at Merrivale, Port Fairy and South Warrnambool.
She lands at the Warrnambool and District league Lions on the urging of close friend Kylie Carter.
The pair were premiership-winning teammates at Merrivale before netball took them in different directions.
“When she knew I wanted to play District league she was the first one who approached me,” Welsh said yesterday.
“It was a good opportunity to play wtih Kylie again. We’re good friends.
“I always said if I was going to play at another team it wouldn’t be in the Hampden league, just because of the rivalry between the clubs.
“I had felt I had committed myself to Camperdown.”
Welsh said the travel demands of playing a fourth season with the Magpies was a major factor in her decision to find a new netball home.
The Panmure Primary School teacher was living in Camperdown but has since shifted back to Warrnambool.
“The travelling and wanting to be able to commit properly were big things,” she said.
She said a return to Merrivale, which already has league-leading goaler Haley Kelson in its ranks, was never on the cards.
“It was more about friendships and wanting to play with Kylie,” she said.
South Rovers finished fourth in 2012 but dropped to last in 2013 after a host of off-season departures, most notably Mandy Knee to Port Fairy.
It won its second match of the season but finished with 16 consecutive losses to record its lowest finish in years.
The club is yet to announce an A grade coach for 2014 and remains in talks with Carter, who will at the very least stay on as a player. “Kylie has done a really good job,” Welsh said.
“She’s mentioned there are a couple of players who could step up into the senior ranks next year, both from juniors and a couple who have been out of the side that might be interested in coming back,” she said.