BACK-TO-BACK titles are in the sights of the Bendigo Football Netball League’s open team ahead of Netball Victoria’s association championships to be played this Sunday at Parkville.
Keys to Bendigo’s play will quick transition from defence to attack, and the mid-court pressure.
Coach of Bendigo’s open team, Tamara Gilchrist believes the mid-court depth is a major strength.
A talented squad includes Meg Williams, Ash Ryan and Chelsea Sartori linking up through mid-court.
“Eight minute halves usually lead to a lot of attacking play,” Gilchrist said.
“The work by the mid-court to set up chances and by the goalers to capitalise will be important in every match we play.”
Goalers in the BFNL squad include Kelsey Meade, Bec Smith and Abby Ryan.
The lead-up will include this Friday night’s training session on the court adjacent to Queen Elizabeth Oval in Bendigo.
“We have not had too many training sessions as a squad,” said Gilchrist.
“Most of the girls are playing in the Victorian Netball League, have training twice a week for their club, and matches on the weekend.
“It’s a hectic schedule.”
Associations who have qualified in the open division are AFL Yarra Ranges, Bellarine FNL, Bendigo FNL, Geelong FNL, Goulburn Valley FNL, Hampden FNL, Maryborough Castlemaine District FNL, Murray FNL, Mountain District FNL, Murray FNL, North Central FNL, Riddell District, Ovens and Murray, Waverley City, and Wendouree.
As the reigning champions, Gilchrist said Bendigo FNL is not daunted by the pressure.
“Everyone involved enjoys this time of year,” said the coach.
“We look forward to the challenge of every game we play.
“Being against the best will often bring out the best in yourself.
“The league has a fantastic group who have worked hard to earn their place in the team and are keen to perform well.”
As well as preparing for the Association championships, Gilchrist is in charge of Sandhurst’s quest to win the A-grade premiership for the second year running.
Gilchrist’s record includes being a premiership coach at North Bendigo, inter-league matches for the Bendigo FNL and Heathcote District FNL, and North Central at state titles.
The Association Championships includes matches for 13-under, 15-under, 17-under, and open.
Play is from 9am until 5pm on Sunday at the State Netball and Hockey Centre, 10 Brens Drive, Parkville.