The first ever AFL Outer East season is creeping ever closer, and as anticipation builds we’ll be taking a closer look at each and every club in our newly formed home.
Kinglake Football and Netball Club are ready to hit the ground running in the 2019 ATC Traffic Division Two Season after a productive off-season for both sides of the club.
In her first season as Lakers Head Netball Coach Latoya Wards saw some mixed results across the grades with B, C and D Grades missing the finals, but her A Grade outfit managed to play off in the big dance, losing by just one goal in a nail biting match with Yea.
The Lakers had four players named in the Team of the Year with Alice and Bridget Waack, Caitlin Ryan and Monique Nagle winning selection.
On the whole Wards enjoyed the challenge of the leading the Lakers netball in 2018 and expects improvement from her lower grades, especially B Grade this season.
“We’ve had an increase in depth throughout the club which will help our B Grade side immensely,”
“We’ve picked up Bille Cvijetic as a player-coach so she can provide an extra set of eyes up and down the court as well, plus she’s a goaler, so she can really fast-track the development of our younger shooters.”
Wards has been preaching a fitness focus during the pre-season after deciphering that the girls were fading late on in games.
“I believe that last year we had the skills but we didn’t always have the legs to run out the final quarter so we’ve been working really hard on our fitness.”
Wards expects that the whole club, not just the netball is set for a big year in 2019.
“I’m expecting everyone as a whole to step up as club, both on and off the field.”
Kinglake’s new football coach Andrew Fairchild is feeling the same vibe after settling in to the Lakers hot seat.
He’s made an immediate impact as well with Kinglake one of the biggest recruiters over the off-season with no less than 10 players joining the club, most coming through Fairchild’s Northern Football League connections.
The Lakers set out to target experience and bigger bodies after Fairchild noted a tendency for the Lakers to get ‘pushed off the ball’. This can probably be explained by the fact that Kinglake had 17 players under 23 come through their senior side in 2018.
For the new recruits, the opportunity to enjoy the country ‘vibe’ was a big selling point in their decision to move to Kinglake.
“For the blokes from the Northern, it’s a chance to get our and to something different, you know a bit of a country town and a country league vibe – that’s what they’re after.”
Fairchild will also bring in a different game-style in 2019, looking to shy away from Kinglake’s 2018 ‘run and gun’ to bring a more structured and controlled style of game this season.
“This might sound pretty funny, but I always figure that if you’ve got the ball the opposition haven’t and if they haven’t got the ball they can’t score – we’ll be playing a much more tempo game this year,”
“Training so far has been focusing on game-sense and kicking patterns, stuff like when to kick and where to kick.”
Whilst their recruiting policy may indicate a short-term plan, Fairchild is adamant that 2019 is just the start of something bigger for the club.
“We’ve got expectations that we’re going to be competitive every game and of course we’ll be looking to win every game we play,”
“But anything we achieve this season will only help what we do the year after.”
Kinglake kick off their season with a Round 1 One with an away fixture against Gembrook-Cockatoo.