After Rupertswood went through the inaugural Riddell District Netball League under-19 season undefeated in 2014, club head coach Di McCormack didn’t think she would be able to field another under-19 side of the same strength.
With most of those girls moving into the B-grade and C-grade sides, McCormack and under-19s coach Katie Clarke had a new bunch of young girls to work with last year.
This year they entered the season with an even younger side – and with what McCormack thought was the weakest squad of the three.
Another undefeated year and a third premiership. The Sharks’ under-19 winning streak sits at 57 games.
McCormack said the success of the under-19 side was a superb outcome.
“I thought the calibre of the first year was a one-off,” she said. “I didn’t think we would repeat it.”
McCormack said that in each year they wanted to promote younger girls into the more senior sides, which meant looking at new under-19 line-ups.
It meant many of the girls playing under-19s could still be playing at under-17 or even under-15 levels.
“We’ve got a lot of talented girls who keep coming through under-19s and winning,” McCormack said.
“They wanted to be challenged and we’re always pushing them up and giving them opportunities.
“It’s part of the reason we have a strong A-grade team. We’re trying to give some of these girls a taste of A grade.
“The next two or three years, we’ll be putting out an A-grade team made up of these girls.”
Only two players have played in more than one of the under-19 premiership – Lara Keating and Danielle Scardamaglia.
They also played in B grade and C grade respectively this season, but helped the under-19 team late in the year after injuries and unavailability became an issue.
Georgia Hellyer would have been a third Shark to play in two under-19 premierships but was away for this year’s grand final.
Two other teams have won three Riddell District Football Netball League premierships in the same period – the Sharks’ B-grade netballers and the club’s under-18.5 footballers.
The B-grade netball team has lost a single match in each of the past three years on the way to three premierships.
The under-18.5s football team has lost one match in the past three years.
In the four years the club has been in the RDFL, the under-18.5 Sharks have won three premierships, been runners-up once and have lost just two games by a total of five points.