Lancefield is hoping a familiar squad and more continuity will help its return to Riddell District Netball League A-grade finals.
The Tigers added a number of players last season, and while it looked like a good side on paper, getting all players on court at the one time proved difficult.
This meant the Tigers missed out on finals by one game in a disappointing result.
Tigers’ coach Alan Watson said they had managed to keep most of last year’s team together and at this stage most players will be available every week.
As for other sides in the competition, he said Lancefield would benefit from a different structure to the Victorian Netball League competition, which has less Saturday night games. This caused players to miss RDNL games last season.
“The majority of players will be available on a regular basis,” Watson said. “It will make a big difference. We’re not getting ahead of ourselves, but we’re expecting a strong performance in A-grade. We’ve taken a low-key approach, and are confident we will improve in all grades.”
As well as keeping most players, Lancefield has added a few more to strengthen the attacking end.
Victorian under-age representative Tahnysha Salanoa joins the Tigers a year later than planned, while Stacey Gannon, who played a few games for the Tigers last season, will play more often this season.
Both were in action in the Tigers’ first round 65-35 win against Woodend-Hesket.
Salanoa, who also plays for VNL club City West Falcons, shot 46 goals, while Gannon shot seven goals and also played on a wing.
Paula Broadstock was best on court.
Watson said he expected all four sides to be stronger this year with the club, especially president Leanne Blackwell, putting in a lot of hard work behind the scenes.
“We had a record number of people turn out to tryouts,” he said. “It gives you a headache trying to fit 15-plus players into teams, and others having to miss out. We’re starting to get the results of the culture we’ve built. We’re aiming for finals in all four grades.”
The Tigers’ next round of matches is on April 22, when all four teams play Rockbank.
Romsey and Melton Centrals are the only teams to play this week, with their A-grade sides playing in a stand-alone match on Thursday night. The Redbacks made it two from two, with a 54-40 win.