Emily Stephens says she wants to maintain the progress her predecessor made when taking on the open coaching role at Camperdown in 2023.
Stephens succeeds Leah Sinnott, who stepped down from the top job at the end of the 2022 Hampden league season, while Grace Lucas will lead the Magpies' division one team as coach.
Stephens, a former wing defence, was a fixture in a Camperdown open side featuring the likes of Sinnott, Tracey Baker and Emma Wright to reach several grand finals before ultimately falling short of winning Camperdown's first open flag.
The mother-of-two said she had taken on "bits and pieces" of coaching roles over the years, including Camperdown's under-15 team this season. She said she was looking forward to the challenge of coaching the Magpies' open side for the first time and building on a 5-12-1 record from 2022.
I love netball and what it brings, the skills it can bring to people and the camaraderie and social side.- Emily Stephens
"It will be a little different and a bit intense but the plan is to build a team around us and bring in as much knowledge as we have here in town," she said. "We've got a really young list, we're really trying to retain them. Leah Sinnott did a great job last season blooding the younger girls into our senior ranks and we've got a bit of a plan to continue to do that."
Stephens, whose children Lenny and Piper play junior football and netball at Camperdown, said it was pleasing to see the progress several teenagers made in 2022.
"It's great to see the likes of Mary Place and Ruby Conheady coming up, Sophie Conheady, they've had a year of experience in open," she said. "Hopefully they can build on that and be a voice on the court for some of our other young ones coming up."
Stephens said she would implement a different structure around Camperdown's training program in a effort to build on the culture around the club and get the best out of the playing group.
"I love netball and what it brings, the skills it can bring to people and the camaraderie and social side, I think that is something we want to try and build here at Camperdown," she said.
The Magpies will be without key defender Laura Bourke next year, with the 25-year-old taking on her first A grade coaching job at Kolora-Noorat in the Warrnambool and District league.
"Our defence end is the end at the moment we probably need to put a bit of work into and develop and try and get an experienced player up that end to build around," Stephens said. "We're not going to be a big tall team, we'll have to work around that and have some different strategies up our sleeves with how to deal with that."
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