Canberra will head into the new Canterbury State League netball season with a renewed determination to bounce back from last year’s grand final defeat.
After claiming back to back championship titles in 2011 and 2012 Canberra went down to Arawang 53-39 to deny them three successive championship titles.
New coach Tara Steel who has replaced Natalie Withers as head coach says her side has worked hard in pre-season and was ready for the new season.
“We had our initial trials at the end of last year and trained as a squad during January and February, including two teams who attended the Heartkids Cup Tournament in Orange,” Steel said.
“That tournament was a great opportunity to blend our experience and youth across both teams.”
“Individual teams were selected at the end of February and we’ve had four weeks together leading up to the start of the season on Friday night.”
Canberra has lost goal shooter Jasmine Keene (France) and Leigh Kalsbeek (Arawang) but have key defender Jemma Johnstone returning in 2014.
ACT U19 Captain Jo Collis and goal shooter Amy Pascoe (Division 2) are just two of the clubs promising young players who will feature in the top squad.
Steel has identified champions Arawang as the side to beat in 2014 but believes the competition will be an even one.
“Arawang have some great talent in their squad and a good coaching staff so you can expect them to be up there again,” Steel said.
“We’ve had some great battles with them over the past three years and no doubt it will be the same this year.”
“Our goal is to build as the season progresses and be hitting our straps at the business end of the season.”
Canberra’s opening game of the season will be against South Canberra on Friday night. All division one games will be played at the Netball ACT Centre in Lyneham commencing at 9pm.