A CHRONIC player shortage has put Maryborough’s involvement in several grades of BFNL netball in jeopardy for 2019.
The Magpies will again field an ultra-competitive A-grade team and 17-and-under line-up, but is battling for numbers in their A-reserve, B-grade and B-reserve teams.
A-grade coach Deb Symes said a combination of injuries, work and family commitments and players leaving the region have left the club well short of players.
She believed the time had come for the club to look beyond its Maryborough base – and specifically to Bendigo – to boost player stocks.
“We are struggling to fill B-grade and B-reserve and won’t have an A-reserve at all,” Symes said.
“We have got an under-17s, but you can’t have that gap in the middle.
“Preferably I’d like to use the B-grade to develop the 17s, as we have some promising players at that level, but we need more senior players if we are going able to do that.
“We don’t want juniors in the team on their own, they need some experience, otherwise they get disinterested too easily.
“We have had a couple of (senior) players express interest only to pull out later.”
The Magpies have taken to social media, including Facebook, in a bid to attract some new players and have also engaged in discussions with rival clubs regarding potential solutions.
Symes, who is in her second season as coach at Maryborough, said she understood several clubs had been inundated with players at tryouts, who would inevitably miss out on selection.
She hoped some of those turned away would consider joining Maryborough and was even prepared to run training sessions in Bendigo each week to ease the travel burden.
“If we can rally up a few Bendigo people, we will run training for them,” Symes said.
“A lot of our games are in Bendigo anyway,” Symes she said in reference to away games played against Golden Square, Kangaroo Flat, Sandhurst, South Bendigo and Strathfieldsaye.
“But it’s a matter of getting that point across – travel shouldn’t be that much of a factor.
“Maryborough has been reasonably strong on the netball court over the years and do have a great lot of people helping off the court, but we do struggle get people there.”
The Magpies have not had an A-reserve team the past two seasons.
Meanwhile, Symes expected the Magpies to field a similar strength A-grade team to last season, led by class goaler Jordan Macilwain and a talented band of young guns headed by goal shooter and joint 2018 season best and fairest Keely Hare and Ella and Maggie Tranter.
The only confirmed player loss is Tori Chandler, who is headed interstate.
Symes has been joined on the coaching panel by Stacey Russell, who will coach the B-reserve team and 17-and-under coach Ella Tranter.
For player inquiries contact Deb Symes on 0417 536 771, or Stacey Russell on 0409 246 604.
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