By David Nagel
Exciting times loom large on the horizon for Rye and Pearcedale who will reacquaint themselves with the A Grade netball scene when the two sides open the 2019 Chisholm MPNFL Division Two season at RJ Rowley Reserve.
Despite its best endeavours, Rye failed to field an A Grade team in 2018 while the Panthers played the first six matches of the season before a lack of numbers saw them relinquish their place in the top level of competition.
It’s great to see both clubs return to the highest level this season and we wish them both well.
It was a particularly savage blow for Rye, who has built a strong reputation over the years as a netballing force. A year away from the top-flight hurt the Demons badly – but instilled a fierce determination to rectify the situation this year.
Nicki Arnold, who joined the Demons last year and played B Grade, has been appointed Head Coach and can’t wait for the season to begin.
“It’s so exciting for this club, that has a very proud history, to be back playing A Grade netball,” Arnold said.
“Every club has its ups and downs and we’re really keen to turn things around. There has been a real determination to make things happen this year, to have five competitive sides and have a good year, a challenging year, but one where we have our successes along the way.”
Arnold certainly has some talent at her disposal with skipper Channing Withers leading a strong midcourt brigade of Lily Trew, Teaghan Avery and Olivia Stephens. Lauren Hearn will have Kelsey Dornau by her side in defence, while goalers Holly Newton and Maddi McGaw will be entrusted with finishing off the hard work of their teammates.
Pearcedale coach Mandy Hopkins will be relying on the skill of Tara Monshing and Mel Perrins to get the Pink Panthers across the line. Bela Tatham, Emma Robertson, Kiarah Rochford, Katie Mitchell and Shay Woods will also be keen to get their season rolling in the right direction.
We’ll go for Rye to win by two goals.
Devon Meadows v Karingal
Reigning premier Karingal begins its title defence at Glover Reserve on Sunday against Devon Meadows.
What a great feeling that must be for the Bullettes, to be crowned champions, after overcoming some serious disappointment in recent years. The scenes of joy after the grand final victory over Crib Point was the stuff that dreams are made of.
Renee Brewster and Bridgette Barry-Murphy will lead the Bullettes into battle, with Kellie Anderson, Mardi Cunningham, Abuk Kenyang and Claudia Whitfort all set to be major players this year. Going back to back is one of the most difficult things to do in sport – but the Bullettes have the cattle to go all the way!
Janine Kilmartin will have her Devon Meadows team set firmly for the challenge of taking on the reigning champs at their first outing.
Lucy Hoogenboom is a great leader for the Panthers, while Alana McDonald, Brianna Pratt, Jenelle Bain, Shannon Gill and Nat Fallon will be out to make life difficult for a leading contender. Kilmartin teams are always well coached…but this might be a bridge too far!
The Bullettes will kick off their defence in style – with a 13-goal win.