By Matt Fotia
2020 marks the start of a new era for Upwey Tecoma FNC as they look to tackle the Premier Division once again.
Upwey Tecoma will be focusing on their own improvements in 2020, not their overall ladder position under new coach Adam Parker.
Parker comes into his first senior coaching role off the back of Back-to-Back Eastern Football Netball League Premier Division flags with powerhouse club Vermont and is enjoying the challenge of leading his newly found home.
What has his first pre season been built around?
Education and the changing of habits.
“Things are going well, it’s always an experience heading to a new club and everything, but things have run pretty much as expected and I’m just enjoying the challenge of educating blokes in a few different ways and getting my head around the whole coaching atmosphere.”
“It’s all about changing habits, educating players is one thing but changing their habits for game day, you know how they react to certain situations and so on is a bit more of a challenge,”
“They are trying to implement all the new stuff as best they can, but when you’ve been doing something for a number of years it’s pretty hard to change those things at the drop of a hat.”
One thing that has changed is the Tigers playing list, with Parker bringing in a number of recruits from all across the eastern suburbs to pull on the jumper in 2020.
Andrew Bartils (Vermont), Matthew Sier (Mazenod OC), Jason Loomes (Cora Lynn), Jason Bennington (Montrose), Jared Webb (Belgrave), Oscar Grimes (South Belgrave), Josh Hannon (Boronia), Lachlan Marolla (Noble Park), Lachlan Roberts (The Basin), Simon Orenshaw (East Ringwood), Jayden Ambrose (East Ringwood), Ben Beecroft (Mount Waverley) and Stuart Hill (Norwood) make up the lengthy list of players choosing Chosen Avenue this year.
Hill in particular is a big coo for the Tigers given his record in the EFNL, having won a Division One Premiership and captained Interleague sides. Parker is confident recruits like Hill will help improve the overall depth of the club.
“We’ve got a couple of good ins, you always need to get better regardless of where you finish so the list is shaping up pretty nicely and might fly under the radar which is nice,”
“The core group of guys are naturally getting better and we’re pretty excited about where the club is heading.”
“I had a few connections personally with Stu, having played against and with him for years and I think he was ready for a new challenge, he’s changed jobs and after having achieved so much at Norwood he was ready for a new horizon,”
“It fits well with where he leaves and he gets an opportunity to play senior football every week and developing his leadership as an assistant coach.”
The Tigers have three practice matches scheduled in the coming weeks, including a trip up to Foster with Parker keen to connect further with his charges and put his work into action.
“We’ve got three practice matches lined up, with games against South Belgrave, Boronia and then we’re heading up to Foster to have a game and stay up there overnight and get the boys together and get to know each other on a bit more of a deeper level.”
“We haven’t really spoken about wins and losses or anything like that, we just want to continually improve, its a simple answer, but we’ve spoken about a few goals around what we want to see happen on game day,”
“We’ll continue on the path of trying to meet our focuses and hopefully if we meet more of them then we don’t we’ll start to win more games and finish higher on the ladder.”
Upwey Tecoma’s netball is still a work in progress according to David O’Hare, but the second year taskmaster is confident that the club are on track to building its program.
O’Hare came into the role last season when looking for a coaching role in the Football Netball community and was put onto Upwey Tecoma by a player he coached in Mens Netball.
He arrived to find a downtrodden attitude around the netball at the club and has set about changing that outlook.
“It’s a two to three year project I think,”
“When I arrived there wasn’t really a great vibe around the club especially in terms of netball, so the approach I took was all about setting the foundations around coaching structure, training and the culture,”
“Generally speaking that’s worked really well and on court it was a look and see year, and this year we’ve got a few more plans in place to improve on what we did last year.”
The cutthroat nature of the AFL Outer East’s top grade netball meant that O’Hare wasn’t able to perform a fairytale in his first year, but he says there are plenty of positives to take out their 2019 campaign.
“Last year was a bit of an eye opener and there were a number of positives for us and for my coaching on a personal level,”
“The netball competition is really strong that’s for sure and we’re starting to put building blocks in place to be competitive for the future,” O’Hare said.
“In A Grade I think we did really well with what we had and the base we were coming off, we were probably one shooter and one tall defender short of where we needed to if we were to be competitive with the top sides and that’s been a focus on the recruiting front,”
“C and D Grade absolutely over performed, they did brilliantly to just fall short of finals with a host of new players in those two grades, which is a very good effort and the good thing about that is it’s one of those things that sets you up for the future because you want players to be pushing up through the grades.”
2020 will still be a development year for the top two grades, but O’Hare is hoping to see some September action for the girls in C and D grade.
“Finals in the lower grades are definitely the aim and I’d love to say that for A and B Grade but I know how strong the competition is, and I think we will be around the mark but its too hard to say because I don’t have much intel on what the other clubs are doing, but I’m confident we’ll be a big improver.”