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03 December 2021
By SARAH MATTHEWS
Horsham Saints premiership player and coach Jess Cannane has cited ‘unfinished business’ as a key motivator behind her decision to lead A Grade in 2022.
Cannane had signed on as A Grade coach for the 2020 Wimmera Football Netball League season, which was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
She played A Grade and mentored junior coaches last year before deciding to again put her hand up for the club’s most senior coaching role.
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“I’ve coached on and off multiple times, alternating between senior and junior coaching,” Cannane said.
“After COVID put an end to the 2020 season I still felt like I hadn’t completed what I wanted to do, so I’m excited to take on the role next year.
“I think it’s exciting in general, just being able to play sport again and return to some sort of normality.”
Cannane co-coached the A Grade side to a ‘fairy-tale’ premiership win in 2017 alongside Shannon Cross.
Cross will be Cannane’s assistant in 2022.
“It’s really nice being able to have a sounding board, particularly one who is an experienced player and coach,” Cannane said.
“It will be good to get the partnership back together.”
Cannane said player retention was going well, despite the busy festive season.
“It’s always tough at this time of year because people are enjoying life and aren’t really thinking about netball,” she said.
“From what I’ve been told from the board and our netball director, it looks as though we’re going to have pretty much the same side as last year.
“It will then be a case of working out the best combinations because several of the girls can play multiple positions successfully.”
Cannane has a clear aim for the 2022 season – to make finals.
The Saints were sitting seventh when the 2021 season was called off amid tightening COVID-19 restrictions.
“If the season had finished, we would have missed out on finals,” Cannane said.
“That’s definitely something we will be aiming for next year.
“Once you make finals, anything can happen. We know that very well since we came from fifth to win both our flags.”
Wealth of experience
Netball director Sally Ison said she was excited by Cannane’s appointment.
“We know Jess brings a wealth of netball experience and leadership to this role,” she said.
“We are also very fortunate to have appointed Shannon Cross as Jess’s A Grade assistant.
“All other senior coaching positions will be announced very shortly.”
Saints leaders have also appointed junior coaches for the 2022 season.
Ashlee Grace will coach the 17 and unders, Vernetta Taylor will take the reins of the 15 and unders and Roxy Tippet will lead the 13 and under team.
“All these skilful coaches will keep our juniors at a very high standard of competition for playing Wimmera league in 2022,” Mrs Ison said.
“With the past couple of seasons starting and stopping, we are positive it will be full steam ahead for our Wimmera league competition in 2022.
“We look forward to starting pre-season after the new year, after everyone takes a well-earned break.”