Diggers Rest is hoping to take its netball program to the next level following the appointment of Pam Strong as A-grade coach for next season.
Strong brings an extensive coaching and playing background to the Burras. She hopes to impart that knowledge on the players.
She has been an Australian squad member and a state representative.
She’s coached zone academy, underage state teams and Victorian Netball League teams.
While she hasn’t coached at the Burras before, Strong is no stranger to the club – her daughter, Shelby Strong, was part of the A-grade side for the past two years and will continue to play next year. Strong said she was looking forward to the challenge.
“I’ve always coached netball, but I haven’t coached football netball before,” she said.
“I haven’t coached the last two years due to work and enjoyed the break, but I’m ready to get back into it. I’ve been out there watching the girls and know it’ll be a good challenge.”
She said the Burras’ good club environment was one of the reasons she was happy to take on the role. It’s something Strong says can be lacking at higher levels.
In a big boost for the Burras, former coach Amy Carroll will stay on as a player. Carroll, one of the top players in the competition, shared this year’s Ryan Medal as the league’s best and fairest winner.
Strong said she was happy to have Carroll continue to play and just focus on playing.
“It takes the pressure off her on the court, especially when it comes to finals,” she said.
“I used to coach Amy back in the day at the AIS and I know her well. I’m looking forward to working with her again.”
Strong said her aim was to continue building on what Carroll had done in the past two years. The side made finals both years, but was knocked out in elimination finals, unable to quite match it with the top teams.
“The club is heading in the right direction,” Strong said. “I don’t think we need to bring in too many players. We have players coming through our Bs, Cs and under-19s.”
The other Burras netball coaches are expected to be named in coming weeks. Strong said all four sides would do a lot of work together.
“We’ll all train together and there’s times we’ll train with the footballers,” she said. “We’ll mix everything up.”