Melton South has appointed AFL Goldfields netball coach of the year Alan Watson as its A-grade coach for next season.

Watson joins the Panthers, having coached Lancefield in the Riddell District Netball League for four years.

He originally planned to continue with Lancefield, but a change in circumstances prompted him to change clubs.

He took the Tigers to the RDNL grand final this year, which they lost to Romsey.

Watson said he was excited by the new challenge ahead at the Panthers and in the Ballarat Netball League. The Panthers finished ninth with three wins this year.

“I want to build a new culture, a winning culture,” he said.

“I want to teach the young players at the club some new things and help build something. I met with the club and they were quite good and I felt comfortable with them.”

Watson won’t be alone in joining the Panthers, with several Lancefield players also planning to make the move.

Watson said he was expecting eight or nine players, including some A-grade players, to come across.

Former Panthers star Andrea Tai is set to return as well. Tai was planning to head to Lancefield with Watson before he changed clubs.

Watson said he was excited for Tai to join an exciting young shooting group, which includes Rhys Carter-Coleman Tukapua and Tahnysha Salanoa.

Watson said initial reaction to his appointment had been positive and he hoped several former players will return to the club.

“It won’t happen overnight, but I want to build the club up and attract new players,” he said.

“There’s a number of younger players coming through and, like I did at Lancefield, I want to give them a taste of senior netball and promote them through.

“We’ll be playing in a different league and it will be a good challenge.”

The Panthers are holding trials for all grades on Thursday between 6-8.30pm at Melton Recreation Reserve.

For more information, contact Donna on 0412 303 766 or Mel on 0411 425 125.