Hawks ready for new challenge

Woodend-Hesket is hoping to continue building momentum. (Ljubica Vrankovic) 360896_03

Tara Murray

Woodend-Hesket may be the hunted this Riddell District Netball League this season, but it’s not something the Hawks are worried about.

After claiming their first A-grade premiership and first netball premiership of any type last season, there’s plenty of excitement in the playing group to continue to build.

New coach and star defender Ty Coppinger said it had been a really good pre-season.

“We’re getting to the end of the pre-season and the excitement levels are up for round one,” she said.

“We want to get out there and put our pre-season into practice. We’ve had some really good numbers and now with a D-grade side there’s more faces at the club.

“The girls have all been really positive in adapting to different programs and are looking forward to coming to the end of pre-season.”

Coppinger said their A-grade side would have a very similar look to last year. She said there had been a couple of additions and a couple of departures.

Georgia Bowkett, who joined the Hawks midway through last season, will play the full season with the Hawks this year.

Sarah Duff returns to A-grade after playing in B-grade last season.

Sam Coppinger joins her sister at the Hawks for the first time. Coppinger has played more than 200 Victorian Netball League games.

The big out for the Hawks is premiership winning coach Meg Grbac. The former Ryan Medallist has moved to Queensland.

Ty Coppinger said they had been doing a lot of work on the connections in the off season.

Coppinger said the group was just focusing on what they could control heading into the season, not worrying about everyone else.

“I think it’s been part of the pre-season mindset that we have not been in this position before, it’s a great position to be in,” she said.

“We approach the season worrying about ourselves and our conditions and knowing what we are capable of.

“We need to look in our own backyard first. There’s a real focus on what we do best and what we can deal with and then who we are facing week to week.”

Coppinger said she was enjoying the move into coaching this season.

She said it made a big difference having been at the club the past club of seasons and there’s been a lot of support from netball director Kellie Duff and the other coaches.

The Hawks kick off their season on Good Friday against newcomers, Kyneton.

Coppinger said it was another opportunity they were looking forward to.

“To be honest, having not been in the league before, I don’t know much,” she said. “I know they come from a really strong competition and I’m expecting them to be a quality side that wants to come in and stamp their mark on the competition.”