After years of disappointment and underachievement, season 2016 proved to be a watershed year for South Yarra as they claimed their first ever Club Championship (Division 3).
All three of the Yarras’ football sides, and two of their three netball teams qualified for finals, with their senior footballers making their post-season appearance since 2010.
Unfortunately, dreams of its first senior premiership since 2008 were swiftly dashed as South Yarra were knocked out of the race following a nail-biting three-point Elimination Final loss to Hallam.
However, senior coach Darren ‘Daisy’ Steghuis says the club now has the belief that they belong at that level, and are intent on using the heartbreak of last year to spur them on to greater success in 2017.
“Yeah, we made finals last year, obviously lost that first final to Hallam. I think it was a three-point loss, but it was a good effort to get there,” he said.
“I think the players now have got that belief that they’ve made that finals series and loss that, that hurts a little bit. So they want to go a little bit further now so we have to make up a bit of ground (to get there).”
According to Steghuis, the off-season has been positive, with a couple of additions slated to strengthen the side in key areas.
“We’ve had a pretty good period over summer with recruits. We’ve picked up a few players, lost a few players, but I suppose so has every club over the preseason,” he said.
“We’ve picked up a few key players that we needed to pick up just to make the side stronger than last year.
“We’re happy with the way we are going and how things are going so hopefully we are going to have a positive year.”
From a netball perspective, 2016 proved a stunning year, with their Division 4 girls claiming the club’s maiden netball premiership, while also reaching a Preliminary Final in Division 6.
The integration between the club’s football and netball teams has been wonderful for the club’s off-field development, and Steghuis is confident of further success for the Yarras girls.
“It was very pleasing to see the netballers at the club last year, being actively involved with the functions and stuff like that and having success as well was really good to see,” Steghuis said.
“You look at the country leagues, (netball) is a huge part of the football club and the development of everything so netball is massive.
“Maggie is the coach again this year, they’ve recruited a few more players, which is really good. We should have four sides on the park so that’s fantastic for a small club like South Yarra.”
Following their premiership victory, South Yarra’s Division 4 team will make the leap up to Division 2 in 2017.