The Standard's BRIAN ALLEN gives his take on the 2021 Warrnambool and District Football Netball League A grade teams.
Ins and outs are compared to the 2019 season.
2019 finish: 11th (East Warrnambool came 10th)
Ins: Asha Roche (Melbourne University), Tessa Jewell (A reserve), Cassie Jewell (Melbourne), Hannah McGowan
Outs: Emma Stacey (South Warrnambool), Georgia McLean
Players to watch: Coach Bridget Foster said sisters Cassie and Tessa Jewell who will play at either end - "Tessa's a goalie and is very accurate. Cassie is very strong and will be good for steadying the ship. She's a very handy defender."
Coach's comment: "I think we'll be a big improver. With these new inclusions, I'm not just relying on juniors, there's a little bit more maturity and experience there. Hopefully that might make us a bit more competitive. It's exciting we have some juniors coming through as I know our supporters are excited about that. We'll be a new-look line-up at both ends of the court." - Bridget Foster
Prediction: Eighth - Foster has kept her young group together and added talent. Goal attack Roche is a great pick up having played six years with Melbourne University in the Parkville Netball Competition's premier division.
2019 finish: Third
Ins: Meg Atrill (South Warrnambool), Hannah Rose (Warrnambool Blues)
Outs: Jess Haberfield (Merrivale), Kristie Bolden (studying), Krystal Roads
Player to watch: CoachSharon Kenna said Zoe Fleming - "It's her second year in A grade and it's a couple years on from when we last played. Hopefully she can show leadership in the goal circle." The coach also mentioned Maddie Solly who is getting her first shot at playing A grade regularly.
Coach's comment: "I think it's going to be a building year for us and I think we can still make finals. If we make finals that would be a really good achievement for us having lost so many players. I'm looking forward to giving some of those juniors a bit of a run." - Sharon Kenna
Prediction: Seventh - The Dogs have lost some of their best after enjoying a dominant era. The future is bright with young players like Zoe Fleming coming through and learning from the likes of veteran Lani Keane.
2019 finish: Ninth
Ins: Ash Holmes, Steph Cowan
Outs: Laurie Symons (Panmure)
Player to watch: "At the Power this year we have been an inclusive group of all senior players across three grades of netball. Training together and all looking forward to taking the court. We've had lots of movement amongst our players, new faces, 2019 17's girls progressing to senior level. It's all very exciting, with plenty of opportunities for our 2021 younger players to extend and develop into seniors as well." - coach Carolyn Carlin
Coach's comment: "I'm mostly looking forward to seeing the girls be rewarded for their dedication to their pre-season by taking the next step, putting on the Power dress, stepping on the court, playing netball together and continuing to enjoy, develop and be the thinking netballers their coaches know them to be." - coach Carolyn Carlin
Prediction: Ninth-The Power has promising youngsters coming through and experienced netballers who can provide leadership.
2019 finish: Premier
Ins: Jess Haberfield (Dennington), Jess McKenzie (North Warrnambool Eagles), Brooke Thompson (returning), Kelsey Perry (Dennington), Layne Porter
Outs: Chantelle Moloney (Nirranda)
Players to watch: Coach Elisha Sobey saidLiv Darcy - "She's fit and she's completely versatile and can play any position on the court. She puts in 100 per cent and gets the job done." Sobey also said Jess Haberfield - "I'm stoked she's getting a crack and she's fit as and probably fitter than most of the people in the district league. She's looking the goods."
Coach's comment: "We are pretty fresh and really fit after having the 12 months off. Everyone is very fit as there has been some swimming, running and lots of outdoor activities because of COVID. They are surprisingly fit and during the off-season you have to try and catch up but everyone seems well in front and we don't have to worry about our fitness at training it's all mental."
Prediction: Second - The 2019 premiers will be right up there again. Most premiership players are still on board and having goalie Jess Haberfield will help the cause.
2019 finish: Runner-up
Ins: Jo Couch (study), Meagan Forth (Old Collegians), Chantelle Moloney (Merrivale), Samantha Couch (Terang Mortlake), Lisa Anders (Terang Mortlake)
Outs: Hayley Pouw (studying), Anna Archie
Player to watch: Coach Steph Townsend saidLisa Anders - "Lis has had a huge pre-season, she's looking amazing, moving amazing and I think will give goalies this year a little bit of a headache."
Coach's comment: "I'm really looking forward to jumping back on court with the girls especially after an entire year off. Everyone's attitudes towards training have been fantastic and it's going to be really exciting to see just how far we can go this year. Looking forward to pushing the girls each week to become better and play our best brand of netball. It's very exciting with the girls who are new to this season so looking forward to seeing them settle in and playing alongside them." - Steph Townsend
Prediction: First - Can't go past the Blues. Will be keen to go one better after a heartbreaking one-goal 2019 grand final loss. Townsend has retained most of her players and added quality recruits.
2019 finish: Fourth
Ins: Grace Bell (Koroit), Hannah Garner (South Rovers), Emily Jansen Van Beek (Timboon Demons)
Outs: Maggie Kline (moved for uni), Meagan Forth (Nirranda), Nicole O'Shannessy (Russells Creek)
Player to watch: Coach Jess Toleman namedcentreRachel Alderson- "She's probably coming into the season the fittest she has come into a season. So that's really exciting for us as a team with our captain leading from the front in that way."
Coach's comment: "Hoping for a good consistent year from the girls. They've had a really fun pre-season so hopefully that comes out on the court and we just enjoy our netball." - Jess Toleman
Prediction: Sixth -Could be anything this season. Young recruitslike Bell and Jensen Van Beek combined with experience campaigners like Alderson and Emily Porra could see a new-look Warriors play finals again.
2019 finish: Seventh
Player to watch: "Not so much an individual player, but just watching how the blend of backgrounds, ages and abilities will come together. Every player brings something unique to strengthen the group." - Josie Ellerton
Coach's comment: "I am excited to finally be able to play again! I'm looking forward to working through the season and developing our connection as we are all still very new as a group. Hopefully we can create a dynamic and game-play that carries us to a finals berth." - Josie Ellerton
Prediction: Fourth - Most expect Panmure to be the big improver this season with its star recruits. The Bulldogs have much greater experience and depth than 2019 and could challenge Merrivale and Nirranda.
2019 finish: Sixth
Ins: Lena Wright, Merinda Ugle-Hagan, Bridget Hampton (East Warrnambool), Zahra Walker, Keziah Freeman, Zarli Dalton
Outs: Rhi Davis (Terang Mortlake), Jess Rohan, Lisa Pender, Abby Sheehan (Panmure), Nadine Porter
Player to watch: Mentor Kylie Carter saysLena Wright is one to look out for - "I think Lena will be an exciting player to watch and as a coach I am loving the youth of the team."
Coach's comment: "We have an extremely young list who are keen to get on the court. I am keen to start and look forward to a high standard of opposition." - Kylie Carter
Prediction: 10th -Excited to see this new-look group in action. Yes, plenty of talent has gone out the door but a trio of handy players from East Warrnambool have jumped on board.
2019 finish: Eighth
Ins: Sarah Robertson (returning), Sophie Morton (up from juniors), Ashlea Ferguson (North Warrnambool Eagles), Annabelle Lucas (Camperdown), Nicole O'Shannessy (Old Collegians), Jess Quinlivin (A reserve), Charlotte Van Der Starre
Outs: Mic Eccles (working), Kate Ross (in Melbourne for university), Keely Price
Player to watch: Coach Thalia Robertson saidSophie Morton - "Has been playing A grade for two years as a junior and has gone from strength-to-strength during pre-season this year. Talented and underestimated young netballer."
Coach's comment: "Looking forward to actually getting out and playing again after last year and excited to see how far we can go with our new-look team. We have added strength, experience and versatility to our side and we are keen to see how we go against the stronger sides in the competition, like Merrivale and Nirranda." - Thalia Robertson
Prediction: Fifth - Impressive recruiting. Expecting improvement and certainly could be in the finals mix if the team gels together.
2019 finish: Fifth
Ins: Rebecca Dendle, Alicia Blain (Cobden)
Outs: Emily Jansen Van Beek (Old Collegians)
Player to watch: Coach Leah Sinnott said Raina Hunt - "She had a great season in 2019 and showed what she is capable of. She's an extremely versatile player, and with the confidence of a great season behind her, and some new voices in the team, I'm sure she will once again be very valuable to our team."
Coach's comment: "This is always very hard to answer when I'm not fully aware of ins and outs for other teams. I feel like we are a very versatile team this season with the inclusion of Alicia and Bec and hope to once again make a charge for the finals. I'm looking forward to watching the girls gel as a unit and enjoy their netball together. In my experience, this brings about trust in one another and creates strong teams." - Leah Sinnott
Prediction: Third -Asmokey for the premiership. Already a strong team which has added two Hampden Open graders who were part of Cobden's 2019 losing grand final team. Watch out.
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