2017 Canterbury State League launched

Defending champions Tuggeranong will be out to create history when they begin their 2017 Canterbury State League netball campaign on Friday night.

No club has ever won three championship titles in a row since the inception of the competition in 2005.

Having won the past two titles Tuggeranong will start favourites to achieve the three-peat but they have undergone a number of changes to both their coaching and playing ranks.

Matt Hills replaces Nicole Bowles as head coach with Natalee Withers (assistant coach) and Michaley Phokos (apprentice coach) providing support.

“We’ve had a few changes but overall we feel we’re well placed heading into the start of the season,” Hills said.

“We’ve undergone a solid five week block of training, which has included inter-club trial matches.”

“We’ll be doing everything we can to win a third premiership but it will be tough given the level of talent throughout all clubs.”

Tuggeranong has been boosted by the return of former Australian U21 representative Keely Rodrigo.

However, they will be without last year’s captain Maddie White, Vanessa Mullumphy, Nardia McDonald and Lyndsey Simcoe.

Last year’s runners-up Arawang look certain to mount a strong challenge to Tuggeranong with Australian U17 representatives Eliza Burton and Hayley Mason elevated to the top grade.

Arawang has appeared in nine of 11 grand finals winning five championship titles.

Canberra will look to improve further in 2017 as they continue to develop a number of their young guns.

They finished last year’s regular season as minor premiers before losing both final matches to finish in third position.

South Canberra have their eyes set on playing finals with the bulk of their playing squad from last season returning this season.

One notable absentee is goal shooter Victoria Schmahl who has been an integral part of the club’s division one side.

South Canberra is sure to miss her height and presence meaning new combinations will need to be explored within the shooting circle.

Belconnen will be out to build on some promising performances last season and progress beyond the first week of the finals.

Consistency will be the key to their chances as it will be for Queanbeyan who continue to develop a number of its promising young players in division one.

ROUND ONE:

Tuggeranong v Queanbeyan

Arawang v Canberra

South Canberra v Belconnen.

All matches will be played at the SolarHub Netball Centre in Lyneham commencing at 6pm.