Netball players unite 

THE experienced heads at Koroit and young players scattered through the rest of the Hampden league will unite in search of a state championship.

Nine netballers are part of the Western Region open squad for the Netball Victoria state championships in Melbourne on Saturday and Sunday.

Five of them hail from Koroit, including squad coach  Stacey O’Sullivan.

Defender Emily Batt, shooter Carley Thomas and midcourters Kate Dobson and Kate Foster are also out of Victoria Park.

The three young guns are Terang Mortlake twins Jo and Lisa Couch and Camperdown attacker Jaymie Finch.

Former Koroit and Warrnambool premiership player Holly Greene is also in the squad.

Greene played a handful of matches for Geelong and District league club Bannockburn, where ex-teammate Amy Wormald plays.

But her presence in the Saints’ 2012 side meant she qualified to represent Western at state championships.

O’Sullivan said the blend of youth and experience “was exactly what we wanted”.

“The good thing is all the girls we’ve got have all played together,” she said.

“The Couch girls have played together and they know Jaymie Finch as well as they’re from the same area.

“It’s really good they’ve slotted in, and the rest of the side is basically Koroit.’’

Western will play nine pool matches against rivals from across the state.

Goulburn Valley, Jika and Central are among the favourites for overall honours.

Chris van Kempen is at the helm of the 17 and under side, which features a mix of players from the Hampden and Warrnambool and District leagues.

The squad includes South Warrnambool pair Nell Mitchell, Bridget Smith and Genevieve O’Connor, who played in the Roosters’ HFNL 17 and under flag. 

Other members are: Sharni Moloney (Terang Mortlake), Emily Finch (Camperdown), Ruby Farley-Steere (Warrnambool), Alicia Blain (Cobden), Brie Reichman (North Warrnambool Eagles), Laura Bourke (Kolora-Noorat), Nicole O’Shannessy (Russells Creek), Sharni Smethurst and Rebecca Dendle (Timboon Demons). 

Dot Jenkins will guide the 15 and under squad, the only one to feature players from HFNL newcomers Portland and Hamilton Kangaroos. 

The squad includes: Sophie Chow, Kira Bussell, Laura Lafferty, Katelyn Evans (North Warrnambool Eagles), Laura Kelly, Tayla Falconer, Rachel McKinna (Portland), Emily Kermeen, Sarah Cleaver (Hamilton Kangaroos), Emma Lucas (Terang Mortlake), Chelsea Baxter (Warrnambool) and Jorja Nieuwenhuizen (Cobden).

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