A fresh approach and a host of new faces underline what promises to be an exciting season for Hawks Netball’s 19/under team.
After the team finished the 2018 Bupa Victorian Netball League season in eighth place, new 19/under coach Lauren Nardelli says it was time for a change, with a renewed focus on fitness and a clear direction with a new group of players.
The Hawks begin their 2019 Bupa VNL campaign against City West Falcons on Saturday night at the State Basketball Centre in Wantirna South.
Only four players remain from the 2018 side, with goalers Ellie Karaula and Olivia Morris – recently named captain and vice-captain – and defensive duo Gemma Thomas and Alex Stephenson all re-signing with the Hawks.
RD 1 HOME GAME THIS SATURDAY! GET YOUR TICKETS HERE
The midcourt has seen the most significant changes, with an entirely new line-up consisting of first-year VNL players Sophie Hennessey, Lanni Pryor, Lauren Jones and 2018 Hawks Magic development player Abi Inglis.
Joining Karaula and Morris in goals is 2018 Magic goaler Hannah Keane and Kara Morrison, who crosses from Ariels, while defensively the team has added promising young tall Olivia Spence.
Nardelli says it’s an exciting time for the young team, with five players getting their first taste of VNL action.
“We have focused on selecting players who we believe can grow with our club and who will be valued members of the Hawks community moving forward,” she says.
“We have a great mixture of strengths and attributes across the court, which all complement each other really well.”
With this year’s squad aiming to be the first Hawks 19/under team to play finals since the club’s last 19/under premiership in 2014, Nardelli says preseason has been all about establishing combinations and connections that will hold the team in good stead across 18 rounds.
“With all the new additions, we’ve spent a lot of time gelling as a team on and off the court,” she says.
“We’ve had a major focus this preseason on ensuring our athletes are well conditioned and ready for a hard season ahead. Lots of time has also been spent on forming strong bonds within the group and drilling the basics.”
The Hawks kick off their 2019 Bupa Victorian Netball League campaign against City West Falcons on Saturday night. TICKETS ARE LIMITED ($8 ADULTS/$5 CONCESSION) – PURCHASE YOURS HERE