With the netball preseason kicking off last week Lions head coach Laura Carland said it was a great opportunity for the team to start building some chemistry.
After a problematic start to this season, when the Lions went without a coach until March, the club now seems to boast a healthy mix of new faces and some returning stars.
‘‘There was a really good vibe down there, a few new faces to the club, and some people from the 2015 premiership team, which was great to see around the club, as they moved elsewhere for the 2017 season,’’ Carland said.
‘‘All the coaches got along really well — it was a great time for everyone to mingle and for all the players to get to know the coaches.
‘‘Next year we’ll have six coaches for five teams, which will be great because all the girls will be able to get more one-on-one time with their coaches, and more of the coaches can coach a specific team and look at improving their skill sets.’’
Despite finishing the 2017 season ninth on the ladder in the Goulburn Valley Netball league with five wins and 13 losses, Carland said she had high hopes for next season, with the likes of Sarah Szczykulski, Elle McDonald and Sarah Douglas coming back in to the seniors side.
‘‘I think the goal is always to try to make finals and end up as high as you can on the ladder,’’ she said.
‘‘This year we came through and won a handful of games when we weren’t expected to win many, which was a really good effort.
‘‘So with a full preseason behind us ... we’re hoping to get as high as you can on the ladder and keep working together and playing as a team.’’
In 2018 the inaugural under-15 team will be coached by Courtney Aldous, who co-coached the St Mary’s under-16 team to a premiership this year, while the under-17 team will be coached by Ellie O’Sullivan, another member of Seymour’s 2015 premiership side.
Both Aldous and O’Sullivan will work closely with Elle McDonald, who will serve as the Lions’ junior development coach.
More than 30 girls tried out for the under-15 and the under-17 teams, which Carland said was a huge turnout given the immense heat.
But this discomfort, Carland said, was a good thing for players to endure in the build up to a long season.
‘‘I think it’s important that we get the experience in such hot weather, because you never know, it can happen in winter, and it’s also quite good for your fitness — getting out there and doing some kilometres in the heat.
‘‘With netball, it’s a lot of interval training. We’re still doing that, but not for as long as normal — we’re just trying to keep it short and sharp, so we’re getting that fitness component we need for netball, but without running them into the ground.’’