The winds of change might have swept through the Hawks’ 19/U team after the 2017 Victorian Netball League season, but the fresh faces now wearing the brown and gold have the club excited about what’s to come.

The departure of the team’s entire defensive end, as well as the elevation to Division 1 of key goaler Daisy Hill defender/midcourter Enya Broadley, has seen a host of promising new talent brought into the squad.

Young defenders and Gippsland products Chelsea Bowman, Alex Stephenson and Gemma Thomas will have their first taste of VNL action when they take the court against Peninsula Waves in Round 1, with all three showing plenty of promise in training and matchplay.

Claudia Giblin, Ellie Karaula and Kassidy Withers will enter their third 19/U campaigns at the Hawks and provide much-needed experience, while new signing and Victorian 17/U state team goaler Olivia Morris is certain to be a major target in attack.

There have been increasingly positive signs from the young Hawks in recent weeks, with their four official pre-season hitouts yielding two wins and a draw.

The 19/U team will certainly be match-hardened for Round 1, having taken a different approach this pre-season by playing a series of games in the Tuesday Premier League competition at Parkville in order to build their combinations and fitness.

Team captain Claudia Giblin said the team’s growth had been noticeable in recent weeks.

“Comparing our first games at Parkville to our pre-season matches, it’s clear how much we’ve improved as a team,” Giblin said.

“Our high intensity at trainings and recent focus on width and length has been a key part of this development.”

Giblin said the team would be hitting the court in Round 1 as prepared as it could possibly be.

“In our pre-season games we played with confidence and as a unit, earning a few wins, which has us feeling confident heading into the start of the VNL season.”

The Hawks’ 19/U team begins its 2018 VNL campaign on with an Anzac game on Sunday, April 29 at 12.30pm at the State Netball Hockey Centre in Parkville. Division 1 plays immediately afterwards at 1.50, while the Championship teams takes the court at 3.10pm.

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