THE Blues are back in business.
Second-year Warrnambool coach Emma Cust believes the Reid Oval club is ready to reassert itself as a Hampden netball contender.
“The club has a really good feel about it in terms of the netball side of things,” she said.
“We’ve appointed some really good coaches and we’ve got some great players and we had an extra 14 girls turn up to pre-season this year. We have enough to run a young, strong division three side this year and we had to cut a few people and that probably hasn’t been the case in a little while.”
Cust hopes the inclusion of midcourt duo Chantelle Moloney and Sinead Finck, Amy Wormald relocating from Melbourne to Warrnambool and Sarah Higgins committing for the entire season will help the Blues’ cause.
“We had a good crack last year because Warrnambool had only won one or two games for the last few years before I coached,” Cust said.
“We just missed finals and I thought that was a pretty good effort considering we lost Anna (Buzolich) with her knee, Bec Irving became pregnant and we lost Sarah Higgins for the last four rounds.
“I was pretty hard on myself but we just didn’t have the depth at the club to draw on much under A grade and I thought we did pretty well considering the team we had.
“I think we’ve definitely got more depth and our team should be more versatile this year.”
Cust said the Blues had assembled a tight-knit team which would be more vocal on court.
“I have a great team to coach. They’re all beautiful girls, really friendly and really happy and cheerful and I think we’ll have a really good, positive year,” she said.
“Sinead talks a bit and I think that’s what we were lacking in our attack end.
“We should have a bit more direction and drive down that end.
“She is a very underrated player. She’s not flashy but she just gets the job done.
“She’ll just end up where the ball is and take an intercept.”
Chantelle Moloney (Merrivale), Sinead Finck (South Rovers)
2016 best and fairest
1st: Sarah O'Keeffe 2nd: Taylah Antonio 3rd: Emma Cust
Player to watch
AMY WORMALD: A key player who will juggle Hampden netball and Big V basketball commitments in 2017. Netball is her priority and living in Warrnambool, rather than Melbourne, will allow her to train and become more cohesive with her teammates, which will include new midcourters Sinead Finck and Chantelle Moloney.
Justine McCullagh-Beasy says: The Blues made big inroads under new coach Emma Cust last season, clawing from the foot of the table to finish half a game outside the top five. They've bolstered their midcourt in the off-season and will have the benefit of a full complement of players at training on a weekly basis which will help fine-tune their game style. Having defender Sarah Higgins available for an entire season will also help the Blues' cause. Should be in the finals mix - if they can keep their core group on the court.