City West Falcons believe they will be in the mix again come Victorian Netball League finals.
The Falcons have been a dominant team in recent years, their championship division side making the grand final last year, only to suffer an agonising one-goal loss to Melbourne University Lightning.
The division 1 side won the premiership, though, while the under-19s also made finals.
Falcons’ head coach Marg Lind said, overall, it had been a good off season.
“As a club, we’ve been going well,” Lind said.
“We’ve picked up quite a few under-19 players, and all three sides had good hit-outs in the practice match.
“There’s been plenty of match play; we are pretty fit and looking ready to go.
“I expect all three teams will be up there.”
While the off season has been good overall for the club, it’s been disjointed for the championship division side.
Recruit Stephanie Puopolo, along with Molly Jovic, Jacqui Newton and Maddy Balson, have been part of the Victorian Fury Australian Netball League team that finished up its season two weeks ago.
Last year’s Margaret Caldow award-winner, Maggie Lind, has been in Adelaide as a training partner for Adelaide Thunderbirds.
“The ANL players only come back next week … we haven’t seen them,” Lind said. “Steph was with Adelaide Thunderbirds and has come back to Melbourne. She’ll be goaling with Kath Knott.
“Maddy and Molly have also been playing VNL, so I’m not sure how they’ll blend in. The fact they’ve been playing together means they should be fine. Maggie, we’ve only seen her occasionally; we will have her back for games.”
Lind said while the off season disruption had been frustrating it was better than last season when ANL and VNL seasons clashed.
She said the experiences all four players would bring back would benefit everyone.
Joining Puopolo is Danielle Wilson, who comes to the Falcons from Southern Saints after moving to Newport. Lind said Wilson, who started her VNL career at the Falcons, would be a good inclusion in defence. Tahnysha Salanoa and Emily Post have been promoted from the division 1 side that won last year’s title.
“Tee will be pushing to get court time, and it will be a tough year … she has a lot of potential and is currently part of the Samoa under-21 squad,” Lind said. “It’s a similar situation with Emily.”
The Falcons start their season on April 26.