It is with an eye to the future that Monash University Storm’s Championship division team enters the 2017 Victorian Netball League season, with a few unknowns but plenty of upside.
With some of Monash’s most credentialed players departing at the end of last season, the club will take to the court this year with an exciting new line-up.
Headlining the list of recruits is versatile goaler and Melbourne Vixens training partner Kim Commane, who will play her first full season of VNL.
Commane, who signed with Vixens last year and relocated from Sydney, played her first competitive quarters for Monash during the recent pre-season competition, after battling a calf injury during the early part of the year.
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She will team up in the goal circle with Championship captain Nat Billings and goal attack Tayla Shannon, who are both returning from last year’s line-up.
At the other end of the court, Shannon Rennison has made the move to Monash after playing at Peninsula Waves in 2016, while star youngster Zoe Davies has been elevated from Division 1 and Clare Pettyfor will provide much-needed experience.
The midcourt will also feature a mix of old and new, with evergreen club stalwart Lil O’Sullivan leading a group that includes Kelsey Buxton, Tayla Kearns and Shae Skinner, who were picked out of Monash’s 2016 Division 1 side.
Also in Monash colours is wing attack/centre and former Victorian under-age representative Annabel Gillies, who returns to the VNL court after taking a break from the elite competition.
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New Championship coach Jacqui Hansen, who takes the reins after many years at the helm of Monash's Division 1 side, said the club identified culture as its number one priority in the off-season, and recruited accordingly.
“Monash University Storm made the decision to rebuild for the 2017 season, and as such we have sought to recruit some younger players that can develop not only as individuals, but as a unified group for seasons to come,” Hansen said.
“Having had a number of older long-term players retire, we have used this as an opportunity to regroup and pull together a group that displays the type of values and behaviours that we believe will set the standards for the coming season and future years.”
“The squad has shown a fantastic work ethic and willingness to push each other throughout some tough sessions and as a coaching group we’ve been impressed with the way the group has come together, supporting and encouraging each other”
Monash University Storm’s VNL season begins on Wednesday, April 26 at the State Netball Hockey Centre in Parkville. Games start at 7pm.