Melton Thoroughbreds have taken the next step in the development of their women’s Big V program.

Having re-established a women’s team two years ago, the Thoroughbreds will have a youth league girl’s team for the first time next year.

Thoroughbreds coach Lauren Olcorn said it was a big step forward for the program.

She said it was vital for the club to have the pathway for those coming through the system in Melton.

“The goal was to have a youth league side [within five years] and, coming into the third season, we’re already having a team.

“It’s a great achievement and we appreciate the support from the committee to get it up and running.”

Christian Impey, who was assistant coach to Olcorn this year, will coach the youth league side.

Impey has been involved at a number of clubs, including coaching the Hume City Broncos youth league champ side in 2017.

His wife, Jodi Impey, will be assistant coach. Jodi played more than 300 games across all divisions in the Big V competition.

“We have the same vision, but we will now work together in different roles,” Olcorn said of Christian.

“They both bring a lot of experience and together are a good fit for the youth league team.”

Olcorn said they would now start to look at goals to set for the team.

She said the two teams would work together as an overall program, with plenty of opportunities for the youth league girls to step up into the senior squad.

They’ve named an overall squad of 23 players, plus two development players.

“We’re looking at this as a women’s program, not two separate teams,” she said.

“We’ll be looking at the youth league team transitioning into the women’s team and there will be opportunities on a weekly basis.

“There will be lots of opportunities across the season.” The core group of players from the women’s team is returning next year.

Only Stacey and Allana Procak aren’t returning.

Chloe Jackson is the only addition.

Olcorn said that Jackson brings a lot of experience.

“She played in a couple of [youth] championships at Sunbury,” she said.

“She has fitted in well and she’s played with some of the girls.

She’s a fantastic player and transitioned well into the team.”

After two seasons back in the competition, the Melton Thoroughbreds have no excuse not to be among the contenders next year.

This year they missed out on a finals spot on a head-to-head countback.

Olcorn said they had a clear focus for next year’s Big V season. “Finals is at the forefront of our minds,” she said.

“It’s championship or nothing for us. “We’re pushing for that top spot.”