Sport Victorian Netball League Netball n the net The talk is over For all the latest from the Victoria Netball League log onto: leadernews.com.au THE FIRST CENTRE PASS State Netball Centre Friday, March 13 ■ Southern Saints v North East Blaze ■ Geelong Cougars v Ballarat Kim Klaver, from Yarra Valley Grammar Ariels (front and centre), joins her nine rival skippers in launching the new Victorian Netball League Pride last week. Picture: MARK STEWART. s36wh999 ■ Yarra Valley Grammar Ariels David Turner team, the State League needed Valley Grammar Ariels signed-on ‘‘People forget we’re still, v VU Western Lightning revamping. as the Class of ’09. largely, 16 or 17-year-olds. ■ Peninsula Waves v Monash VICTORIAN netball will take a A State League Advisory Group A hectic pre-season tournament ‘‘But, they’re stronger in the University Central bold step forward when a new was established and, after months has just concluded and the 10 body, mentally stronger. ■ Boroondara Genesis v elite club competition takes to the of careful consideration, it was clubs are fit and ready for action. ‘‘I really do believe the girls Hume City Falcons court this Friday night. decided that a 10-team compe- After reaching the finals in the have learned a lot from last year. After more than a decade as the tition, with each fielding a Cham- past two seasons, the young Yarra We really want to finish top-two For scores, ladders and state’s premier netball compe- pionship Division, Division 1 and Valley Grammar Ariels outfit is and make the Grand Final.’’ tition, the State League has been 19&under team, would be the best setting itself to take a couple of ﬁxtures log onto: replaced by a revamped compe- way to maintain a smooth path- big steps this year. netballvic.com.au tition format – the Victorian Netball League – and 10 clubs are way from grassroots netball to the elite level. Coach Christina Puopolo, like most, is eagerley awaiting the Media partner positioning themselves to claim Clubs would be expected to meet inaugural season. the inaugural championship. rigorous criteria with greater She has retained the majority of LEADER Community News- In 2007, when it was announced emphasis on the off-court support the squad that lost to VU Western papers will maintain its com- that Australia’s national league structures needed for players and Lightning in the elimination mitment to local sport after was to be replaced by a Trans- coaches to perform at their best. semi-final last season. signing-on as the media part- Tasman competition (with five When the initial dust had And, the young Ariels line-up ner for the Victorian Netball Australian and five New Zealand settled, the first 10 licences were now believes it belongs at the League. teams), Victoria went from two awarded. pointy end of the state’s elite As Victorian netball takes teams at the elite level, the And, Ballarat Pride, Boroondara competition. this exciting step forward, Check out all the action Phoenix and the Kestrels, to just Genesis, Geelong Cougars, Hume ‘‘(We’re) still a fairly young fans of the new competition pictures at: one, the Vixens. City Falcons, Monash University squad (19 or 20 of the 30-strong list will be able to follow the Most at the time felt that, if it Central, North-East Blaze, Penin- are in their teens) but they’ve had action both in the pages of newsphotos.com.au was to remain the underpinning sula Waves, Southern Saints, VU another year (under their belts),’’ their local Leader and on- competition for Victoria’s elite Western Lightning and Yarra Puopolo said. line at leadernews.com.au A QUICK GLANCE AT THE DEBUTANTES BALLARAT PRIDE GEELONG COUGARS MONASH UNI CENTRAL PENINSULA WAVES VU WESTERN LIGHTNING Colours: Navy and sky blue Colours: Navy, white and silver Colours: Black, white, blue and red Colours: Yellow, navy blue, hot pink Colours: Royal blue, white and red Coach: Jo Dash Coach: Leah Wilson Coach: Kristy Keppich-Birrell and pale blue Coach: Joy Grubb They say: ‘‘It’s very exciting. A lot of They say: ‘‘We’re a new group. They They say: ‘‘It’s a little bit daunting, Coach: Robynn Pym They say: ‘‘We’re a new side this year work went into getting one of the 10 (Geelong squad) are so keen, so tal- they are big shoes to fill (taking over They say: ‘‘Peninsula, just by history in and we know we’re going to take a few licences. Putting it all together has ented and they seem to be so tall and from Gillian Lee). But, in the main, Gill the past three years, has been in the weeks to gel together, but our aim has been a very interesting experience. athletic these days. We’d like to win and I have a similar approach. We bottom two on the ladder. I believe we to be to make the finals and then see MAROONDAH LEADER March 10, 2009 Our plan is to be there on August 12 more games than we lose, I always have a few new players and the older can beat four teams above us now. So how we go. I’d love us to be able to go (Grand Final day). But, realistically, aim for that with my coaching. Where players have been very receptive to I believe we are going to be midfield one better this year. (Joy Grubb). our very really goal and ambition and that leaves us on the ladder, who the changes.’’ (Kristy Keppich-Birrell) for the first year. And, in the second We reckon: Preliminary finalists last desire is to, at the very least, be knows?’’ (Leah Wilson) We reckon: Arguably, the best support and third years, we rise and go into the year. An injury-plagued pre-season competitive.’’ (Jo Dash) We reckon: If it can harness the structures, off-court, and loads of top four.’’ (Robyn Pym) hasn’t given the squad a lot of confi- We reckon: Ballarat will punish sides brilliant talent from Warrnambool coaching talent around the club. We reckon: With a good mix of young dence. But, if it can, consistently, get that take it lightly, but the step up to through Colac to Geelong, there is Throw in a mix of seasoned cam- guns and experienced performers, the its side together the Lightning could Championship Division will be a tough little doubting the Cougars will soon paigners and classy youngsters and Waves could well surprise some of the push towards the finals again. test initially. be a force to be reckoned with. it’s hard to go past a Monash v Hume top teams this season. YV GRAMMAR ARIELS BOROONDARA GENESIS HUME CITY FALCONS final yet again. SOUTHERN SAINTS Colours: Yellow, black, red, royal blue, Colours: Silver, teal and navy Colours: Red, royal blue and white NORTH-EAST BLAZE Colours: Black, red, white and yellow silver. Coach: Richelle McKenzie Coach: Marg Lind Colours: Black, orange and pink Coach: Debra Armstrong Coach: Christina Puopolo They say: ‘‘We’ve been coming They say: ‘‘There’s been a lot of Coach: Karen Worland They say: ‘‘We hope (Chelsey Nash) is They say: ‘‘(We’re) still a fairly young together nicely. It’s (the Genesis changes in the off-season, but the They say: ‘‘The players are very keen playing full time for the Vixens and not squad but they’ve had another year squad) a good blend of young players whole club is coming together really to learn. They are a very motivated us, (but) we’ll be thrilled to have her (under their belts). But, they’re and experienced. To work with experi- well. To have the youngsters training group. But, at the moment, they really on the court.We have a good side. The stronger in the body, mentally enced players and to have experi- with the senior girls, I think everyone want to learn what is required to play girls have had a phenomenal pre- stronger. I really do believe the girls enced players about on the court will is going to be a winner out of that.’’ at this level and I couldn’t ask any season.’’ (Debra Armstrong) have learned a lot from last year. We help the young ones develop.’’ (Marg Lind) more of them than that.’’ (Karen We reckon: A blend of the most really want to finish top-two and make (Richelle McKenzie) We reckon: The Falcons have unfin- Worland). successful club in State League his- the Grand Final.’’ (Christina Puopolo) We reckon: After signing a top-shelf ished business after losing the last We reckon: Tapping-in to Melbourne’s tory (Eastside) and a recent star of We reckon: Now the pre-eminent team coaching staff and some impressive State League Grand Final and, if pre- rapidly expanding north-east, the Division 1 (Bayside Stingers), the in Melbourne’s netball-rich outer-east, 56 off-season recruiting, Boroondara season form counts for anything, Blaze is positioning itself to be a future Saints will be competitive this season. Ariels will be desperate to deliver on looks likely to be the season’s big Hume will, again, be a force. Finals are force. Likely to be a season of finding Some handy signings make the Saints its potential. A make-or-break season improver. a formality, top two is likely. its feet in the top flight. a bit of a dark horse. ahead.