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    Former coach and goal defence Kayla Woods will return to A Grade in 2020.

2020 HDFNL COUNTDOWN: Rupanyup netballers working as one


Junior development and improvement across the board are key focuses of Rupanyup netball leaders as they eye off another Horsham District Football Netball League season. 

The Panthers kicked off pre-season last night and will train twice a week at Rupanyup. 

Netball director Olivia Huebner said the club was still in the process of appointing netball coaches for all grades, with positions to be finalised in the next couple of weeks.

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She said despite a few plans still being put in place, there was plenty of buzz surrounding the club, particularly with news several key signings had bolstered the senior football side.

“The boys have recruited well and that has definitely generated some excitement for us,” she said.

“Any success at the club means a lot to local people. 

“When the under-14s made the finals last year, it was fantastic. 

“The Rupanyup community is happy to get around all the teams, whether it’s football or netball. 

“We celebrate success on any level, which is what is so great about being part of a small community.”

Ms Huebner said both netball and football leaders wanted to continue the club’s legacy of a family-orientated environment by ensuring juniors were looked after.

“This year we are placing a big focus on getting our senior netball players more involved with our juniors,” she said.

“There has always been a bit of involvement but it’s something we want to ramp up. 

“We have a few 17 and unders who aren’t as confident as others so we want to help prepare them for senior netball in the future.”

Ms Huebner said she would like to see many of the club’s 17 and unders, in particular, experience court time in senior grades.

“Giving them a run in C Reserve is a great way to do this,” she said.

“We’ve found in the past that it helps give the girls a bit more confidence and makes it less daunting for them when it does come time for them to step up to senior netball.

“We want to focus on being ‘one’ netball club and breaking down any barriers between seniors and juniors.

“We’re going to run a buddy system again this year to bring it all together.”

Ms Huebner said juniors were encouraged to attend senior trainings if they wanted to.

She said throughout pre-season, Sarah Kelm would lead fitness sessions on Tuesday nights, with skills and drills sessions on Thursdays.

“During pre-season we really want to expand our knowledge by making the most of our assets,” she said.

“We have some very knowledgeable and experienced netballers and we want to use them to our advantage, particularly when it comes to our juniors.”

The Panthers had a tough 2019, finishing 10th with one win for the season.

Ms Huebner said the Panthers looked likely to fill all netball grades again this year and would aim to improve in each grade.

She the club was still in the process of locking down players, although former coach and goal defence Kayla Woods, shooter Blair Burke, and Ms Huebner, a midcourter, would return to A Grade in 2020.

She said defender Kiarah House planned to travel back from Geelong, where she is attending university, some weekends.

Rupanyup will kick off its season against Swifts on April 4. 

The entire February 12, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!