THE excitement of pre-season has kicked into another gear for Kangaroo Flat leader Jayden Cowling after his appointment as the new BFNL inter-league netball coach.
Cowling takes over the reins from dual Sandhurst premiership coach Tamara Gilchrist, who led the BFNL to a Netball Victoria Association Championships title win in 2017, and runners-up in 2018.
His appointment was one of two confirmed by the BFNL board on Thursday, with Melinda Keighran returning as the 17-and-under coach following a successful campaign last season, which included success at the Northern Association finals.
Cowling, who was an assistant to Gilchrist during her fruitful two-year stint, delivered full praise to the outgoing coach for her remarkable record with the inter-league team.
“Tam did an amazing job. I was lucky enough to be involved the last two years and she went about it so well,” he said.
“I am very lucky to be following her.
“Hopefully we can continue the success she achieved in her two years.”
The BFNL has earned a remarkable record of success at the championships, finishing as semi-finalists, runners-up, premiers and runners-up in the last four years.
Cowling said his aim was to assemble the strongest side possible and would be a keen spectator at as many games as possible in rounds one and two, when the A-grade netball season launches on April 13.
“Obviously I will be in contact with all the coaches to see who is performing well and hopefully build on what we already have,” he said.
“There is no doubt the level of talent in the Bendigo league is strong and our record at association championships and inter-league is great.
“Hopefully we can get our players committed to inter-league early.”
Cowling, a multiple Australian and Victorian men’s netball representative as a player, will be in his second year as coach at Kangaroo Flat this season, after leading the Roos to a third-place finish in 2018.
He won A-reserve and B-grade premierships as coach in the two years before his appointment as senior coach at Dower Park.
The inter-league schedule includes matches against the Outer East in Bendigo on May 18 and the Association Championships to be played in June at Echuca, with the finals following in Frankston.
Keighran, who will again be in charge of Golden Square’s 17-and-under team this year, brings a wealth of experience to the junior team role.
Her previous coaching roles include stints with AFL Central Vic Academy teams in 2016 and 2017, 17-and-under Bendigo inter-league coach in 2016, 2017 and 2018 and under-15 assistant coach for North Central at the State Titles in 2016.
BFNL manager Cameron Tomlins lauded the coaching appointments as exciting for the league and reward for the great work they have done over the past few years.
“Both Jayden and Melinda are well known, extremely qualified and hold significant knowledge and experience that we hope will deliver our netball representative sides further success in 2019,” he said.
“To have experienced individuals re-commit to the program is a great show of support and gives the netball program continuity with both coaches fully aware of the requirements to achieve success.”
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