THE resurgence of Warrnambool and District league netball powerhouse Merrivale will start with new coach Tania Ross.
Tigers officials yesterday unveiled Ross, 34, as their A grade mentor for season 2014.
She replaces co-coaches Claire Wines and Raewyn Poumako, who spent one season in the job.
Ross, a goal keeper, yesterday said she was excited about taking on the job for the first time.
Her netball resume includes more than 200 games for Northern Districts and North Warrnambool Eagles, the majority in A grade, as well as stints as coach.
She crossed to Merrivale in 2012 and was a member of the Tigers’ premiership side before having 2013 off to become a mother for the third time.
“Now I’m keen to get back into the coaching side of things,” she said.
“Merrivale has been a great club. They’re really enthusiastic, they really want to develop the club and incorporate football and netball really well.
“It’s a great club to be around. When the opportunity came up to have another go at coaching with them, I was really keen.
“There’s a great bunch of girls there that I get along with really well. They encouraged me to have a go and I thought ‘why not?’.”
Ross said she was yet to speak to Wines and Poumako but hoped the pair would stay on as players.
She confirmed shooter Danielle McInerney, who is pregnant, would take to the court in the second half of 2014.
Nicole Ferguson and Laura Peake, both members of the 2012 flag, will also return to Tigerland after a year off.
“We have those girls as recruits before we even start. Those girls didn’t play this season,” Ross said.
“It’s all looking like things should fall into place. Hopefully we’ll be as competitive as your Old Collegians and Panmure.
“Those teams are definitely the benchmark. We’re aiming to get up and above them.”
A new-look Merrivale dropped to fourth in 2013, a credible effort given the turnover of players the club experienced before the season.
The Tigers beat Timboon Demons in an elimination final but couldn’t get past Dennington in the first semi-final.
Ross said much of the groundwork was already in place for the side to improve.
“Last year it was a bit of an unsettled team,” she said.
“They lost close games they should’ve won.
“There isn’t that much that needs to be focused on to push back up again, which is great. But there’s always room for improvement.”