WESTERN Region 17 and under coach Chris van Kempen believes height and versatility will hold her teenage netballers in good stead this weekend.
Van Kempen is at the helm of a 12-player squad which is chasing success in the Netball Victoria state championships.
She put her charges through a final training session at the Val Bertrand Netball Stadium yesterday ahead of the annual tournament.
Eight members of the squad come out of Hampden league clubs, while four are products of the Warrnambool and District league.
“We’re a very versatile side. We’ve got a little bit more height than we’ve had in previous years, particularly in the midcourt,” van Kempen said.
She said the teens had completed four training sessions in preparation for the championships.
She was confident finals were within reach of the squad if it played to its potential.
“We missed out on finals by percentage last year and we actually beat all the teams in finals. That was really frustrating,” she said.
“They’ve been up there.”
The under 17s and under 15s will play 14 matches, consisting of 10-minute halves, across the weekend — eight tomorrow and six on Sunday.
Western Region 15 and under coach Dot Jenkins said she believed her 12-player side had the legs to excel.
Jenkins said she had focused on developing several combinations to use throughout the two days.
“You’re never going to do well running the same girls in the group,” she said.
“I’m hoping our strength is the ability to alter the combinations and put different girls on the court when we need them.”
Jenkins said the squad would learn much from playing against some of the best young netballers in Victoria.
“Regardless of the result, I know they’ll give this week the best they can,” she said.
“I’d like to think they’d learn a great deal.
“They’re being exposed to tough netball in every single game. I’m hoping their concentration holds up. That’s why you need different combinations, because as your fitness wears out, I’m a huge believer in that the first thing that goes is your decision-making.”
Western Region will also send a nine-player open squad, coached by Koroit champion Stacey O’Sullivan.
The open squad is hoping to claim a second state title in three years.