Koroit is utilising its links with basketball to drive successful netball teams

A Saint and a Mermaid are usually associated with two different sports in Warrnambool.

But Koroit is showing the region that netball and basketball can connect in a very successful way. 

The Saints have found a link between the two court sports that has given them an edge over the rest of the Hampden league netball competition. 

Koroit co-coach Carly Pulling, who is a listed player with the Warrnambool Mermaids division one side, said the two sports were perfect companions.

“Netball and basketball really complement each other in lots of different ways,” the premiership defender said.

Netball and basketball really complement each other in lots of different ways.

Koroit's Carly Pulling

“As a defender in netball I think reading the play really helps coming from a basketball background and most basketballers can naturally pick up netball.

“Most of our current and past netball teams have been a group of both basketballers and netballers, so that could contribute to the sustained success that the club has had over the years. 

“It’s a different style of play and we all read and understand each other and that helps playing both sports.”

CODE-HOPPER: Koroit co-coach Carly Pulling often ditches the Saints' red, white and black dress for the green and white jersey of the Warrnambool Mermaids. Picture: Morgan Hancock

CODE-HOPPER: Koroit co-coach Carly Pulling often ditches the Saints' red, white and black dress for the green and white jersey of the Warrnambool Mermaids. Picture: Morgan Hancock

Koroit netball players with competitive basketball backgrounds currently in the Saints’ open side are Pulling, co-coach Jess O’Connor, Molly McKinnon, Lily Killey, Jacqui Bowman, Nell Mitchell, Sophie McDonald and Vanessa McLaren. 

Pulling (10 basketball games and 11 netball), McKinnon (14 and five), Killey (eight and seven) and McLaren (three and eight) have all played for both the Mermaids and Saints this year, with both games often falling on a Saturday.

The first-year netball coach said basketball had also influenced Koroit’s pre-season training.

“In the off-season us Koroit netballers have entered a basketball team into the local summer competition,” she said.

“It proves to be a good off-season fitness trainer and keeps us together as a team and we always have a bit of fun with it. Even the girls that don’t play basketball often can get a bit of a taste for it and they enjoy it.”

Pulling said that other clubs should consider the possibility of trying something new in their pre-season. She also said basketball has had a positive impact on the fitness and ball skills of the Saints’ open grade side.