HAMPDEN is putting its faith in a host of fresh faces at tomorrow’s netball association championships in Melbourne.
New Hampden Football Netball League open side coach Sara Byrne is confident her 11-member squad will do well in the lightning premiership-style tournament at the State Netball and Hockey Centre in Parkville.
Only Port Fairy defender Sarah Moroney and Camperdown goalie Jaymie Finch remain from last year’s side, which narrowly missed a semi-final berth.
Tomorrow’s side includes seven debutantes in Hampden representative colours: Hamilton Kangaroos quartet Kelsey Lewis, Rhianne Lewis, Ally Feely and Amanda Huf, Terang Mortlake’s Remeny McCann and Lisa Couch and Koroit’s Teagan Lang.
They will be joined by key defenders Emily Batt, of Koroit, and Warrnambool’s Kasey Owen.
Byrne said the squad’s feature was strength at both ends of the court.
“I have gone for a few fresh faces,” she said.
“We have gone for young legs because it’s a big day.”
Netball Victoria confirmed yesterday 15 associations had entered open sides, with a draw not finalised until tomorrow morning. Hampden is facing at least six matches of two eight-minute halves before semi-finals.
“I’m confident. I think we have a really good squad. I’m just rapt with the girls who have put up their hand to play,” Byrne said.
“We have a really good squad on paper. Hopefully it all clicks.”
Hampden qualified sides in the 13 and under, 15 and under and 17 and under grades.
Jackie Smedts will coach the 17 and under side, which won the western region qualifying event two weeks ago, while Stacey O’Sullivan will oversee the 15s and Tracey Baker the 13s.
O’Sullivan is upbeat about her side’s chances, having been undefeated at the qualifying event in Ballarat two weeks ago before going down in the grand final against Western Border.
That loss came after dynamic wing attack Georgia Corbett was knocked out and unable to play but she is fit to take her place tomorrow.
The 15 and unders were runners-up last year and O’Sullivan said two members of that side, North Warrnambool Eagles’ Kira Bussell and Portland’s Tayla Falconer, would be part of the action tomorrow.
Falconer has been a regular goal shooter for Portland’s A grade side this season.
O’Sullivan said Western Border followed its win with victory in the South Australian championships last weekend, underlining her confidence.
Baker said her 13 and under side was confident of doing well after progressing undefeated through 11 matches, before losing the grand final in extra time.
She said her squad contained versatile players and the girls had gelled after a series of training sessions.
Open: Lisa Couch, Remeny McCann (Terang Mortlake), Kelsey Lewis, Rhianne Lewis, Amanda Huf, Ally Feely (Hamilton Kangaroos), Kasey Owen (Warrnambool, Jaymie Finch (Camperdown), Sarah Moroney (Port Fairy), Teagan Lang, Emily Batt (Koroit).
17 and under: Darcy Wilson, Nell Mitchell (South Warrnambool), Emily Kermeen, Sarah Cleaver, Aly Smead (Hamilton Kangaroos), Emma Lucas (Terang Mortlake), Chelsea Baxter, Kate O’Meara, Sophie Chow, Brie Reichman (North W’bool Eagles) Alana Johnstone, Alyssa Johnstone (Warrnambool).
15 and under: Tayla Falconer, Sammy Telfer (Portland), Georgia Corbett, Kira Bussell (North W’bool Eagles), Maddy Hunger (Terang Mortlake), Victoria Grundy, Ally O’Connor, Maggie Hirst (South Warrnambool), Amy Hammond , Molly Hutt (Cobden), Taylah Antonio (Warrnambool).
13 and under: Grace Hammond (Cobden), Jaymie Falconer, Eva Clark, Taylah Nelson (Portland), Maggie Kellett, Molly McKinnon, Zoe Bussell, Amelia Chow (North Warrnambool Eagles), Chelsea Baker, Grace Broderick (Camperdown).