MFL

Shaping up to be an exciting Murray Netball League season

by
April 07, 2017

BAROOGA 

COACH: SARAH BRUCE 

2016 FINISH: 12th (0–18) 

Barooga will start the season with increased numbers in a huge boost for the club after last year. Playing A-grade coach Sarah Bruce said there was plenty of wisdom and talent in the coaching line-up, including Lauren Nye (B-grade coach), Colleen Brooks and Kim McShane (C-grade coaches) and Jordan Flanagan (C-res coach). “We welcome back some great strength and skill with the return of Taylah and Sharni Hazelman, as well as a very handy newcomer to the club, Gabe Florance,” Bruce said. “We are very pleased to have kept Kayla Eddy in our playing group and are really pushing the rest of our senior playing group with some fantastic options for selection over the coming weeks.” The club is being realistic about goals for its 2017 season. “After the struggle of last year we know we have some work to do, but the positive feel round the club and players we have back this year, things are really promising,” Bruce said. She said players were urged to be competitive, with a hunger to work hard and unite as a team that might give the league a shock or two. 

COBRAM 

COACHES: JACQUIE RYAN AND MARLO ZITO 

2016 FINISH: 10th (2–16) 

Cobram will be tackling season 2017 with quite a few new faces and a good mix of up-and-coming juniors and experienced players. A coaching panel with a great mix of experience and knowledge will take charge of the A and B squads, with Jacquie Ryan and Marlo Zito appointed coaches and Sharra Beasley and Rachael Baxa appointed defending and attacking coaches. “Brodie Pfeiffer has come to the club from Mulwala, where she has taken on a junior coaching role and she will be a key defender in our A-grade team,” Beasley said. “Elle Brooks is a junior who we have elevated to the senior squad who we have every confidence will have a huge impact in out attack end. “We have only four girls in our squad from last year’s A-grade side and we will be looking to these girls to be leaders as we expose our juniors throughout the season to senior netball. “We will endeavour to bring structure, discipline and fitness to the court in round 1 against Congupna, and of course our goal is to play finals.” 

CONGUPNA 

COACH: SAMANTHA GILL 

2016 FINISH: ELEVENTH (2–16) 

The Road will be hoping a new coach breathes life into the club after a disappointing season which saw it net only two wins. Samantha Gill joins the club for her first crack at coaching after playing at Shepparton United in the Goulburn Valley Netball League last year. The Gill family will be big influences in Congupna netball with Samantha’s mother Lisa joining her daughter in making the move. Lisa will coach from the sidelines while Samantha plays. The Road will base its 2017 campaign on versatility and youthful exuberance in the hope of climbing the ladder. Megan Semmens and Beth Caldow arrive from Tatura, while 17-year-old Rhylee Merkesteyn will follow Gill from the Demons in search of regular senior action. 

DENILIQUIN RAMS

COACHES: JODIE SEFTON 

2016 FINISH: THIRD (14–7) 

Deni Rams are in the most capable hands as they look to improve on a preliminary final appearance last year. The legendary Jodie Sefton, who has won nine best-and-fairests at the club, is leading the side again as a non-playing coach. “We’ll have Emily Mildren coming up from the premiership-winning under-17s side,” Sefton said. “We’ll welcome former Rovers coach Janice Hilton, Eliza Eastman and we’ll also have Amelia Wyatt for a full season after she joined us late last year.” 

ECHUCA UNITED 

COACH: ELLE FLORANCE 

2016 FINISH: PREMIERS (18–3) 

Defender Elle Florance has taken on the role as senior coach for 2017 and said junior development would be a real strength for the club in years to come given the numbers they were already seeing during preseason. “We’ve had a lot of junior involvement so far which has been great,” she said. “Our junior development has gone from strength to strength in past seasons and that’s something we will be trying to build on.” The senior grades will have a relatively new line-up this season. Gracie Berryman has moved from Moama as United’s newest A-grade goaler. Although it was always a goal to make finals and be competitive, Florance said she had no expectations of how far United would go this year. 

FINLEY 

COACHES: YET TO BE CONFIRMED 

2016 FINISH: EIGHTH (7–1–10) 

Finley was still looking for a coach at the time of print as it looks to build on an eighth place finish last season. The Cats enjoyed some good wins during the season, but were unable to be consistent enough to push into finals. A proud club, Finley will manage to bring players together and put out a competitive team come round one. 

MOAMA 

COACH: CHARLOTTE LONG 

2016 FINISH: SIXTH (9–1–9) Moama has welcomed a new coach this season with Goulburn Valley League player Charlotte Long making the move into the Murray League. They’ll be looking to rectify the previous season’s finals downfall this year as the relatively youthful side will have a year of experience under its belt. A-grade has also welcomed some promising recruits to lead the young line-up on the court alongside the playing coach. Netball co-ordinator Lester Gilmore said Echuca United was still the benchmark team. “In our first five games we’ll be up against five strong teams, including United and Rumbalara who were last season’s grand finalists,” he said. “We’ll have a good indication of how we’re going after that.” 

MULWALA 

COACHES: JO MCCARTHY AND CARA WOOD 

2016 FINISH: SEVENTH (9–9) 

Youth will be the key for the Lions this year if they are to rectify the ladder slide that saw them drop from a semi-final berth in 2015 to out of the race completely last season. New co-coaches Jo McCarthy and Cara Wood have a strong batch of junior talent coming through the ranks, including Jordy McCarthy, Brit Hanley and Elise Beamish, and will attempt to harness their winning under-17 form that has seen a premiership and preliminary final loss in the past two years. Amy Nunn, Chloe Bogle and Maddi Gissing head a list of incoming young Yarrawonga talents who are in the mix for A-grade selection. 

NATHALIA 

COACH: MARK QUINN 

2016 FINISH: NINTH (7–1–10) 

Newly appointed A-grade coach Mark Quinn will look to bring his vast wealth of experience to the Purples in the hopes of climbing the Murray Netball League ladder in 2017. Quinn will attempt to implement more professional systems that he has picked up throughout his time at the Shepparton Bears. Previous coach Lisa Barnes remains at the club after handing over the reins, enabling her to focus solely on her on-court performance. Junior talent will also be a cornerstone at Nathalia this season with Quinn keen on nurturing his younger charges and giving them a chance to shine at senior level. Key center-third netballer Emma McDonald departs to Waaia in a blow to the club’s top echelon of talent. 

NUMURKAH 

COACH: RENEE JUDD 

2016 FINISH: FIFTH (12–7) 

The Blues came down with a bad case of déjà vu in 2015, finishing fifth and exiting in the elimination final for the second year running. Renee Judd resumes her role at the helm after a year off and will be joined by fellow Blues stalwart Sandi Kerrins, who will run the team from the sidelines while Judd is on court. Michaela Owen returns to the club after playing juniors for the Blues almost seven years ago. Judd, who will also coach the under-17 representative side for the league, said Numurkah would build its game plan arounda strong defensive unit and the capability to counter-attack with lightning speed. 

RUMBALARA 

COACH: REBECCA DEAN 

2016 FINISH: SECOND (18–2) 

After taking the minor premiership last year but falling at the final hurdle, Rumba will be hoping to go one step further in 2017. That task will be made all the harder by a massive changing of the guard at the top level, with 2016 A-grade stalwarts Jessica and Natarsha Bamblett, Khayla and Tegan Wanganeen and Chrissy Ponting joining superstar and former coach Jessie Barnes-Hill on the staggering list of departures. New coach Rebecca Dean steps up from the B-grade role and will be hoping most of her former charges, who made the semi-final last year after finishing third, can do the same. If they fail to match it though it could be a long year, with no signings locked in. 

TONGALA 

COACH: ALICIA WHITE 

2016 FINISH: FOURTH (14–1–5) 

Tongala’s 2016 results were stellar, but coach Alicia White thinks this season could be even better. “That was a fantastic season last year considering we have so many injuries and a couple of pregnancies that didn’t help us,” White said. Abby Pettifer and Sarah Backman return to the side, and Katie Mulholland joins the squad, providing class in linking defence and attack. White said her side wasn’t putting pressure on itself to win the premiership, but expect to be highly competitive. “It’s all about how we combine and link down the court. As long as we nail them I think we should be ok,” White said.


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