Head Coach Kristy Keppich-Birrell gives an update on the progress of each of our 10 senior players and six training partners with the 2018 pre-season in full swing.
Find out how each Magpies Netball player is tracking with words on each below.
Erin has recently completed her move to Melbourne and it’s been pretty seamless for her. She’s in the gym and is making some great gains. The highlight so far is seeing her build her combination with her coach – Cath Fellows – and with Alice Teague-Neeld out on court. Obviously, she’s at a new club, with new surroundings and new faces, so she’s embracing the differences and is starting to settle into life at the Holden Centre.
April is completing a meditation qualification at the moment, which is really exciting for her. It’s always important to have a life outside of netball, and she’s found a great balance. She’s away with the Diamonds at the moment, but before she left, she was working hard on her [relatively new] combination with Matilda Garrett and is continuing to build a strong partnership with Sharni Layton. Her speed off the mark has been phenomenal over the past few months.
Braz is coping really well with her cross-code challenge at the moment. The load and the management of schedules can be challenging and tedious, but she’s performing strongly in both programs. At the moment, she’s at the top of her game in both and we can’t wait to see her hopefully line up in the AFLW in a few weeks time.
Shae is embracing her leadership role, and with the Diamonds away on tour, she’s taken the lead with the five players that are here. She had her foot operation over the off-season, so she’s pretty much re-learning her movement patterns [this time, without pain]. She’s getting faster and stronger, and her movement is improving everyday.
The new kid on the block: Tilly is just a breath of fresh air. Her attitude and gratitude is amazing and you can tell she’s just so happy to be here. She’s embraced everything that has come her way, including the opportunities to see the world outside of the Holden Centre. It’s been nice to see her build friendships and make those strides in her personal development.
Sharni took to the court in the AIS camp earlier this week, which was a jump in loading for her. From all reports, she performed really well there, which is a great sign for her and for the team. We are still monitoring her program back at the Holden Centre, but she’s happy and involved in all aspects of training, which is a positive sign.
Rav is off with the Diamonds in England and South Africa and is looking forward to working on her leadership on and off the court. She doesn’t say a lot, but when she does, people listen. That’s her unique leadership style, and it’s one that she’s looking to implement more at the Holden Centre. She’s a great listener and a great teammate. Her expectations of the level that we should be at in everything we do are really high, and that’s something that is valued by the group.
Mads is such a great leader, with such great character. She’s had a few challenges over the past few months, but she’s dealt with them with class and humility at every step. She’s in a great mind space and she’s in some of the best shape of her career. Her skills out on the court under match play are phenomenal; so she’ll causing a few headaches for the Diamonds staff over the next few months.
Al is coming off an extended break, and she used those few extra days to refresh and regroup. She’s in a great headspace and is enjoying playing the game, which is exciting to see. Her relationship with Cody Lange and Tilly – they have a great friendship blossoming on and off the court – which makes the game fun to play and fun to coach. ATN is working really hard on her craft and has been one of the big improvers in the gym, so she is tracking beautifully.
Caitlin is working towards Commonwealth Games selection at the moment, and her form in the SSN last year will put her in a strong position. She’s been in the Holden Centre gym a lot, putting in the extra sessions to ensure she’s ready for another jam-packed calendar year. She’s working on her communication and combinations with her teammates. She is faced with many different partnerships on court (both with the Magpies and Diamonds), and she has the capability to play all different styles. That’s one of her biggest assets – it doesn’t matter who you put with or around her, she makes the game work and flow as it should.
Ness has made a great impact on this group. She’s another fun-loving person and teammate, but when it’s time to switch into game mode, she locks in and works hard. She’s seen the jump Tilly was able to make last year (from training partner to senior contracted player), and she’s definitely challenging herself and her teammates around her this year. She’s one to watch over the next 12 months.
Mel commutes from Geelong and Werribee, so her commitment to the program has been outstanding. What’s been great about Mel is watching her balance life outside of netball – she's looking to secure a teaching contract, which we hope will come to fruition for her. After a few years out of the system, she’s adjusting into an elite program, and she’s making great contributions on the court.
Mez is another one who has a great balance. She’s faced with the dilemma of having a great job outside of netball, which requires a lot of hours and effort. But she also wants to get the best out of herself on the netball court. She’s another one who’s working on the balance between real life and netball life. She’s almost having a second lease of life with netball, which is great to see. She’s enjoying being back on court and adding to her knowledge of the game.
Sammy is the ultimate professional in everything she does. She ticks every box and it shows out on the court. She’s very tall for a goal attack, but she moves so well and that’s a great asset for her that she continues to work on. I’m looking forward to seeing her add to her outstanding 2017 campaign.
Sharni has just come back from 19/U camp where she was a standout. In her age group, she’s top of the pile. She’s been working hard in the gym and is continuing to push herself as an athlete to get the gains required. At the elite level, there’s more pressure, so she’s working towards that challenge and making strong progress.
Cody is back on court and is starting some contesting work. She’s in great physical shape and is committed to her rehab and her return to the sport. She’s really courageous and I admire her resilience and commitment.
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