SFNL Netball Interleague Coaches Appointed

The Southern Football Netball League is pleased to announce the appointment of St Kilda City’s Melanie Starr as its Senior A-Grade Netball Interleague Coach for 2016.

In addition to Starr’s appointment, Heatherton’s Nicki Arnold will take the reins as coach of the SFNL’s inaugural Under 19 Netball Interleague team, while Dingley premiership captain and reigning Division 1 Best & Fairest winner Alicia Wise will take on an Under 19 assistant coaching role.

The SFNL’s best netballers will take the court in two separate Senior and Under 19 clashes against Northern Netball League and Ellinbank & District Netball Association in May, and Starr said she was looking forward to the challenge ahead.

“It is exciting. It’s very different to other representative teams in that we will only get three training sessions with the girls,” Starr said.

“So we need to try and select girls with really strong fundamentals, and who can pick up structures and systems quickly.”

The NNL got the better of the SFNL in both A-Grade and B-Grade representative matches in 2015, and Starr is keen to reverse the result this year.

She is also confident that she will have a strong side out on the court that will serve it right up to their Northern and Ellinbank counterparts.

“We are hoping that our selection process this year will ensure we have a stronger pool to select from, asking clubs to nominate players in addition to conducting open trials,” She said.

“I expect that we will field a competitive team that works hard to positively represent the SFNL.”

Originally from Perth, Starr has a wealth of netball playing experience at club, rep and state level, including playing in the WA Mixed team that won the Australian Men’s and Mixed National Championships in 2006. She also represented Australia in the Mixed team that toured Fiji the same year.

Starr has also coached various men’s and women’s netball teams over the years, as well as been involved in strength and conditioning coaching and netball talent identification. Most recently, she has coached St Kilda City’s Division 1 team since moving to Melbourne two years ago, and will this year take charge of Peninsula Waves Under 19s in the Victorian Netball league.

Arnold said was “absolutely rapt” to head up the first ever SFNL Under 19 representative netball team and was thrilled to be taking charge of what will likely be an extremely talented group of youngsters.

She also said her goals with the Interleague program were two-fold. First and foremost, Arnold will be striving for on-court results, but she is also keen to develop the young talent into future Senior A-Grade representative netballers.

“This is sort of the future I think, and gives a whole other realm of (representative) netball opportunities, Arnold said.

“Ultimately, (the players) all want to play A-Grade, that’s the epitome of what they are all striving for. That said, the talent is strong enough that I expect that we absolutely will have some on-court success.

“We’ve got a massive amount of girls that are eligible (for Under 19 selection) and I expect that we will be able to run a great group through (to Senior A-Grade level), but ultimately it’s about the opportunity… and you bet we want to have a crack at winning.”

In other Netball Interleague appointments, Penny Byers-Timms will coach the SFNL’s B-Grade side in their one-off clash with Ellinbank & District while Chris I’Aison, a highly-decorated men’s representative netballer, will assist with the Interleague squad selection.

The first of three trials for the Netball Interleague squads will take place on Friday 22nd April, with additional trials to follow on Sunday 24th and Friday 29th April.

Talent scouts will also be on hand at tomorrow's Round 1 Netball fixtures and will identify and invite standout players along to the first trial session on the 22nd.

Three training sessions for the SFNL Netball rep teams will be conducted in early May before the first A-Grade Senior and Under 19 Interleague matches are played against the NNL at Parade College, Bundoora on Friday 13th May.

The A-Grade Senior, B-Grade Senior and Under 19 Interleague fixture against the EDNA will take place the following Saturday at Lyndhurst.

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