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    Jorja Clode will return to the court for the Saints this weekend.

2024 WFNL COUNTDOWN: Horsham Saints set goals high

By Lauren Henry

Horsham Saints A Grade netballers have their eyes firmly set on a Wimmera league grand final berth and winning another premiership medal this season.

After a 2023 season that neared perfection – undefeated and capped with a three-goal grand final win against Horsham Demons – the Saints will march on in season 2024, albeit as the ‘hunted’.

Horsham Saints A Grade coach Jess Cannane said her team would again set its goals high.

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“I think everyone has the same goal at this time of the year and ours is no different – it would be to make sure we are in the grand final and looking to take out the premiership again,” she said.

After a pre-season with strong numbers and with a 2023 premiership cup in their cabinet, the Saints are raring to begin their 2024 campaign. 

“We’ve had really good numbers across all our senior grades, which has made life really easy in getting back into the swing of things,” she said. 

“It takes a little while coming off a premiership just to get the girls re-engaged and letting them finish off their summer sports.”

Practice matches against Kalkee earlier this month gave Cannane and fellow coaches the chance to play full-court games and try different combinations, and understand how they would use the new rolling substitute rules. “It will allow a different strategic dynamic, and it gives us an opportunity to switch different combinations if they’re not working immediately, very similar to basketball and football, rather than being fully committed for the full quarter,” Cannane said.

The playing coach said she was unsure if the introduction of rolling subs would benefit the Saints.

“Traditionally we’re a side that generally will stay with our starting seven.But this brings a different aspect to the game,” she said. 

The Saints will go into season 2024 with a similar team to last year, except defender Erin Martin, nee Mellington, who is pregnant.

Cannane said she was looking forward to hanging onto the stability of fielding a similar line-up to past seasons.

“It almost feels like we’ve had an extra couple of seasons to work on different combinations. So it’s just about fine tuning now,” she said.

“We’ve also a few more under-17s that will step up and play bigger roles this season as well.

“Maddi Bethune and Cara Tippet are the two girls who will get lots of opportunities to play bigger roles.

“And we’ve also a couple of our returning players who have played in a few of our premierships, being Elly Knott, nee Barnett, and Shannon Cross, who will come back into our A Grade side, which will further deepen our experience and also that connection on court.” 

Cannane said the Saints were looking forward to their first game against Stawell on Saturday.

“We’ll definitely be at full strength and it’ll be nice to actually get that first game under our belt,” she said.

“Obviously, Stawell’s had a chance to actually play a game on Good Friday, then they’ve had a couple of weeks break, so it’ll be like starting the season again. 

“We’re really looking forward to seeing who other sides have been able to recruit and also how they utilise that rolling sub strategy moving forward.”

The Saints’ A Grade squad is Jorja Clode, Abby Hallam, Shannon Cross, Megan Byrne, Ashlee Grace, Jess Cannane, Elly Knott, Maddi Bethune, Cara Tippet and Taya Quick.



A Grade: Jess Cannane

B Grade: Erin Martin

C Grade: Kris Grace

C Reserve: Annie Mintern and Olivia Morris

17-and-under: Ashlee Grace

15-and-under: Vernetta Taylor

13-and-under: Zeena Kelm

NetSetGo: To be confirmed

The entire April 17, 2024 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!