ALLANSFORD netball coach Bridget Foster has a long association with the sport.
The mother-of-one is the daughter of Anthony and Barb and partner of Mark White.
Foster, 29, is one of nine siblings and attended Simpson Primary School and Mercy Regional College.
She goes Under the Auld Pump with Tim Auld.
Bridget, is it true that Claire and you are twins. And if that's right, are you close?
Claire and I are twins. We were very close growing up. We're not identical twins.
We were always getting into mischief on the farm and at school.
Claire moved to Geelong, while I live in Allansford. We still stay in contact but in saying that our whole family unit is pretty close.
I note that you were born in Warrnambool but your primary school education was at Simpson Primary School. Did your family live at Simpson?
Yes, my parents had a dairy farm.
We had a wonderful childhood on the farm. We lived outside nearly all the time. There was always a game of cricket or footy being played by my siblings.
The footy used to get a bit rough, so I preferred to play games of cricket.
How did your love of sport and community come about?
I would have to say my parents. My mum was heavily involved in the junior netball program at Simpson when I was a child and my dad was the president of a few local footy clubs.
My parents always encouraged their children to get involved in local events.
I think I would have been about eight years old when I first started playing netball at Simpson.
My brother went down the line of playing footy.
I ended up playing in the under 13s, 15s and 17s at Simpson before getting into the senior netball side.
I was fortunate enough to play in an A grade premiership side at Simpson before going to play at Nirranda.
I had four years at Nirranda without any premiership success before I switched over to Allansford in 2015.
What was the main reason why you changed clubs from Nirranda to Allansford?
My partner Mark was involved at Allansford.
I played in the A grade side under Sarah Neeson in 2015. We lost the preliminary final to Dennington in the year.
I was appointed joint coach with Sarah before I was pregnant with Max, so I missed the 2018 season.
Which path did your netball career go down in 2019?
I was appointed the senior netball coach at Allansford in 2019.
We had a very young side. I think the age of our players was between 14 to 30.
I was very lucky because there were so many people who offered to babysit Max. We were a very immature side. I decided not to play in the A grade side because my body had not fully recovered from having Max, so I played in the A reserve side.
A grade netball is a lot more physical, faster and is more competitive than A reserve, that's why I decided to play in the lower grade because I felt I was just not right to play in the senior side last year.
Bridget, I take it you're the senior coach of netball at Allansford again this year?
Yes, I was appointed back in September last year to be the senior coach in 2020.
We started pre-season training in December. We were training once a week - each Thursday. The training sessions revolved around skills, fitness and match play. I thought we were shaping up pretty well.
We played practice games against North Warrnambool and Hawkesdale-Macarthur.
This year, our age group is between 21 to 33, so our players are a lot stronger to play netball in the senior competition.
We performed pretty well in both those games. The next minute the coronavirus pandemic hit and we were all out of action.
Have you stayed in contact with your players during the pandemic?
Yes, to some extent.
A lot of the netballers are great friends, so they have stayed in contact with each other, but no one knew what would really happen with the pandemic so they just stayed in contact on the phone.
We've been back training in groups of 10 since June 2.
We're all waiting now to see what the next move is.
The government will make its decision about the virus and what happens, and then it's up to the Warrnambool and District Football Netball League to decide.
Would you love to see the netball go on this season in the WDFNL?
It's not my decision, it's up to the government and the league to decide.
We'll just keep on training until next week when they make their decisions.
How do you rate the standard of netball in the WDFNL?
It seems to be getting stronger each year.
It's very skilful and is getting quicker.
Fitness appears to play a major part in local netball.
I would say the top netball sides in the WDFNL would match it with the bottom sides in the Hampden Football Netball League.
The competition in both leagues is very good.
I think you'll find netballers in both competitions start training much earlier in the pre-season.
The competition is very fierce in both leagues. Netball offers a great fitness exercise for ladies and also is a great way of meeting new friends.
What other sports did you play when you were growing up?
I played a lot of tennis when I was young.
We used to play tennis against sides from Scotts Creek, Brucknell, Crowleys Creek and Heytesbury.
They were wonderful days. My mum used to play and I would occasionally fill in the senior side when some one could not play.
Sadly, some of those places don't have tennis sides now.
You mentioned that your dad has been the president of a few local footy clubs. What clubs were they?
Dad was president of Cobden when they won the flag in 1997. I was just seven years old. I can still remember the celebrations continued for a few days.
Dad was also the president at Nirranda for four years and he had a stint at Simpson. My parents now live in Colac.
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