LIZ Byrne isn’t sure what to expect from her return to state league netball tonight.
The South Warrnambool recruit will line up with the Warrnambool City Netball Association team tonight when it takes on Hampden Green in the first round of the Western Region State League open competition.
Byrne has been off the netball court for the past two seasons after the birth of her children and said she planned to use state league as an indicator for the coming Hampden season.
“I don’t know if the game has changed or if I’m getting older, but game play seems to be quicker,” Byrne said.
“My fitness isn’t where I’d like it to be at the minute, so my number one priority for the state league is to get that to where I want it to be.”
The Warrnambool City side is coached by Rhiannon Cuomo and includes Bryne’s Roosters teammates Leah Kermeen, Genevieve O’Connor and Sarah Jacobs, as well as North Warrnambool Eagles’ Jordyn Billings, Katie O’Keefe, Katie Burt and Anna Archie.
“I didn’t really know how to go about getting involved in state league, so I asked Leah and she said to put my name down for the Hampden sides,” Bryne said.
“But then she and Katie Burt put their heads together and decided to enter a Warrnambool City side and asked me if I’d be interested in joining.
“I thought it would be a good opportunity to get as much match experience as possible before the Hampden season starts.”
Byrne will rejoin South Warrnambool this year after a four-year absence.
“When I came back to Warrnambool five years ago I played a season at South, but then my husband got a coaching role at Allansford, so I played there for two seasons,” she said.
“So the state league will be a good way to see the rest of the Hampden girls and give me an idea of what I need to work on.”
Byrne said Warrnambool City had a good mix of youth and experience.
“I think we are fairly versatile, which is what you want,” she said. “We had a bit of a training run last week and we worked well together, so hopefully we can be competitive and win a few games.”
Western Region State League gets under way tonight at the Arc from 8.30pm, with Colac District taking on Hampden White and Hamilton taking on Warrnambool District.