Clarke steps up at Macedon

Katie Clarke (Ljubica Vrankovic) 41894_02

Tara Murray

New Macedon coach Katie Clarke is stepping back into coaching as her playing career starts to wind down in the Riddell District Netball League.

Clarke, who has played at the Cats since 2017, has been appointed the club’s A-grade coach for the next three seasons.

She replaces Ciara Stewart, after the club decided it wanted to head in a different direction.

Clarke said she was excited to take on the opportunity.

“The club approached me towards the end of the year,” she said. “It was something I gave a bit of thought to as I’m getting a bit older and I can’t play forever.

“I don’t want to play A-grade forever either. This is starting to move into a new space which is pretty exciting.”

It’s a return to coaching for Clarke, having stepped away from coaching roles in recent times.

She said now with her children a little bit older, it allowed her the opportunity to coach again.

“Prior to having Mitchell [first son] I was head coach in the GFL [Geelong Football League] for the Joeys,” she said.

“I played down there for a long time and once Mitchell was born, the commute was too tricky.

“I stepped back and fell into playing at Rupertswood and started coaching there and really enjoyed it.

“I’ve had a little time away, but the kids are a little older now.”

Clarke, who was named in the A-grade team of the year for a ninth time this year, said all positions were up for grabs.

Trials are being held on Sunday, with a session on December 7 for anyone who couldn’t make that.

“They are open to everyone,” she said.

“Anyone who wants to join can come on down. We’ve got some pretty good numbers in registration

“A few girls have come back to the club, which is great.”

Joining Clarke in the Cats coach’s panel is Bella Leifi, a former New Zealand Silver Fern player.

“Bella is really keen and she has a lot to offer,” Clarke said. “She pointed out some things that we can improve on and really adds a lot of depth and experience.”

Clarke said one area that she would be looking to put some focus into was the development of the relationship between the senior and junior programs.

Kelly and Shane Nicholas are running the junior program with the club set to have teams in all age groups, after not having teams this year.

“I’ve known Kelly for a long time and I’ve been chatting with her to look to build a good relationship,” Clarke said.

Tara Murray