It will be a younger side for Rupertswood in this year’s Riddell District Netball League.

While the core group returning, the Sharks have looked to bring some more youth into the A-grade side to replace those who aren’t returning.

Sharks coach Di McCormack said this would likely be the youngest team that they had fielded over the years.

“A lot of younger players have been promoted throughout all our sides,” she said.

“The young girls will get an opportunity to show what they can do and will get a bit of experience.”

From last year’s side, goalers Abby Gilmore and Hayley Mathews, and defender Beck Anstey aren’t returning.

Gilmore and Anstey are both pregnant, while Mathews has moved to reining premiers Macedon.

Stepping up to fill those spots are Hannah Keane and Matilda Elliot, who were both part of the B-grade premiership team. Elliot won the league’s B-grade best and fairest award last season.

Both players got experience in the A-grade team last season.

Hannah Keane. Picture Shawn Smits.

Jade O’Shannessy, who is part of the Casey Demons’ under-19 Victorian Netball League side has joined the Sharks.

She’ll join Keane and Amy Starzer as the Sharks’ shooters.

McCormack said like last season they’ve had a slow start to the pre-season, but the playing group had been playing plenty of netball elsewhere.

She said there had been a few changes with their other three sides, which are all coming off premierships.

“The under-19s will almost be babies [really young players] again,” she said. “They’re players who have come through our junior program.

“There will likely be a couple of girls returning to give some experience. They want to keep their streak record going.

“The B-grade side has some more girls elevated up, while the C-grade side has had the biggest changes.”

Despite the changes, McCormack said she thought they would still be competitive in all grades.

“We will be competitive, we’ve just got to see how it plays out.

“We know other teams have recruited well. Hopefully we’ll get into finals and see what happens.”

The Sharks start their season on April 6 against Diggers Rest.


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