SOUTH Bendigo has landed an off-court coup, with two-time BFNL premiership coach Jannelle Hobbs moving to the Bloods.
Hobbs, who led Kangaroo Flat to A-grade flags in 2014 and ’16 and a fourth-place finish this season, join the Bloods in the dual roles of director of coaching and A-grade coach.
She will oversee a freshened coaching panel that includes assistant A-grade coach Tara Everist (A-reserve), Kiralee Beachem (B-grade), assistant Bree Nalder, Stacee Kingdon (B-reserve), Liz Taylor (17-and-under) and assistant Emily Cossar.
The Bloods had their best A-grade season in several years in 2017, under former coach Benita Swatton, and finished in seventh place with seven wins and 11 losses, half a win shy of Strathfieldsaye in sixth position.
Their best win of the season came against Hobbs and Kangaroo Flat by three goals in round nine.
South Bendigo netball operations manager Melissa Dillon said the club was excited to have someone of the calibre of Hobbs as coach of the club.
“The club has worked really hard in the last couple of years to really hone in on our club structures – not just from a playing point of view, but a coaching point of view,” she said.
“Our vision is starting to come to fruition.
“Obviously with Jannelle’s expertise and experience, we think as an A-grade coach, we need to let our players have the opportunity to develop under someone like her.”
As the club continues to plan for an eventual full-time move to Harry Trott Oval and with a near entire new playing group leading the Bloods to their best finish to a season in at least four years, Dillon said there was plenty of excitement around netball at South Bendigo.
“There was only one A-grade player from last year, so there was a big change within the squad,” she said.
“Janelle has obviously seen there has been that improvement – hopefully she can take that to that next level.
“She sees real scope for improvement, not just in A-grade; there are a lot of players fighting for an A-grade spot.”
Hobbs, who joined Kangaroo Flat in 2012, previously led YCW to seven Loddon Valley league grand finals across a number of grades and has regularly been coach of North Central netball region teams.
As the length of her tenure at both clubs indicated, Hobbs said the decision to switch clubs was one she had not taken lightly.
“I really loved my time at Kangaroo Flat, but after six years I thought it was time for another challenge and the director of coaching of role combined with A-grade coach suits me down to a tee,” she said.
“I’m super excited – it’s like I have a new lease of life.
“I’m not one who will swap clubs a lot – the ones I have been at I have been there a long time.
“Once we put a program in place, I like to see that through - hopefully we can get the success.
“That has happened in the past, so I am hoping with all these other coaches on-board, we get South up there in BFNL netball.
“Our aim to is to make South a destination club.”