Merrivale veteran notches up 200 games

HALEY Kelson has packed plenty into a netball career that began back as a junior at Caramut.

Tomorrow Kelson will line up in her 200th game for Merrivale. In her time with the Tigers, Kelson has made a significant contribution to the club. 

She is a two-time premiership player and last year won the league’s goal shooting award with 617 goals.

That outstanding form has continued this season with a 42-goal haul from Kelson leading the Tigers to their opening win of the season against South Rovers.

While Kelson will play her milestone game against Russells Creek tomorrow, it would have been fitting if it had come a week earlier. South Rovers is coached by Kelson’s sister, Kylie Carter.

Carter coached South Rovers to its first premiership in 2011 with Kelson her star goal shooter and best on court in the grand final.

To add to the intrigue, South Rovers defeated Merrivale in the grand final after the Tigers had gone through the season unbeaten.

“I never had any plans to leave Merrivale but Kylie really wanted to coach so I went with her,” Kelson said.

“The first time we played Merrivale it didn’t feel right and it always felt a bit funny.”

Kelson got her first taste of senior netball at South Warrnambool.

She crossed to Merrivale when she began dating Merrivale footballer Brett Kelson, who would later become her husband. 

Merrivale would remain her netball home until she crossed to South Rovers for the 2010 and 2011 seasons. She had a year at North Warrnambool Eagles before returning home for 2013.

A mother to Meg, 11, Tessa, 8, and Jack, 6, Kelson remains a force in the goals for the Tigers despite being just short of her 39th birthday and having to overcome a knee problem.

“At the end of last year I went in for a scrape of the knee and had to end up having micro fracture surgery where they drilled a hole in the bone. 

“It’s feeling OK now and hopefully we can have a good year. It is an even competition and most games are going to be tough with all the teams having recruited so well.”

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