It seems just a short time ago we were braving the cold and wet conditions to witness the 2022 Grand Finals and here we are again frantically preparing ourselves for a new Season.
The Coaching and Club Personnel have been kept busy with recruiting in the off season and as a result, there has been quite a bit of movement of players and coaches between Clubs and other leagues. Six Clubs have appointed new Open Netball Coaches whilst another two clubs have added a co coach to their Team. Emily Stephens has taken on the role at Camperdown and will be ably assisted by Megan Titmus. Kellie and Emily Somerville will share the role at the Hamilton Kangaroos. Kerrie Jennings has joined up with Kate Dobson at Koroit and Alahna Edwards has taken on the task at Port Fairy. Ellen Keunert will lead the Tigers at Portland whilst Maddison Vardy is enjoying her new role at North Warrnambool Eagles. Sharni Moloney has returned to her home Club at Terang Mortlake and Laura Peake will co-coach with Raewyn Poumako at the Blues.
The movement of players between Clubs has also been a hot topic around the courts. Some exciting talent from last year’s HFNL representative teams have chosen to swap their club colours, I look forward to watching their development over the coming months. Cobden will welcome the return of Amy Hammond, Sophie Hinkley, Jess McGlade and Jamie Finch and South Warrnambool have boosted their lineup with the return of Ally O’Connor. Port Fairy have also recruited well with a number of new inclusions to their list.
Finals Contenders for 2023
I will make a brave move and give you my predictions for the finals contenders this year. Cobden, South Warrnambool and North Warrnambool, I believe, will all feature in the Finals Series come September and Warrnambool, Koroit and Hamilton Kangaroos will also push for finals contention. Hamilton Kangaroos will have the capacity to surprise a few teams and will have an impact on the final Top 5.
My Predictions for this Week.
Terang Mortlake take on Camperdown in the first Super Saturday. It will be a year of rebuilding for the Magpies after losing a majority of their Open list from last year. Terang Mortlake will get off to a good start and earn the 4 points.Warrnambool travel to Tigerland to do battle with Portland. Warrnambool will take a few weeks to settle into their new lineup but I think they will show glimpses of what is to come in the coming months and will get over the line in a tough contest. Port Fairy play host to South Warrnambool and will be eager to improve on their result from last year. However, the reigning Premiers are aiming for back to back titles and should win comfortably. Hamilton Kangaroos have recruited from other leagues and are a bit of an unknown talent however, North Warrnambool Eagles are fit and rearing to go and with their versatility should account for the Kangaroos.
In what is potentially the match of the round, Cobden take on Koroit at the Bendigo Bank Community Recreation Reserve. Cobden will be boosted with the return of Amy Hammond, Jamie Finch and Sophie Hinkley and Koroit may take a few games to adjust to their new lineup. Cobden will start their season well with a solid win.
No doubt we are all looking forward to a great start to the season and playing out the year without COVID having any influence. Good Luck to all Netball and Football teams competing this weekend.