Alexandra looked to be competitive early in the season, winning two of their first three including a 115 point demolition of Broadford, however after that, they couldn’t quite maintain their form, finishing 5th with 4 wins and 11 losses to their name.
A fair amount of the drop in form can be attributed to a handful of injuries. Senior Coach Nick Wal made mention of Tom Boots and Riley Norris to provide a boost upon returning.
“When we did start to get most our side on the ground, which wasn’t really until late, we pushed the Grand Finalists to eight points in one game and a couple of goals in the next one.
“We feel if we keep improving and have a bit of a decent run with luck and availability; we feel that’s where our improvement can come from.”
Being a more efficient team with the ball was also another avenue for improvement according to Nick.
Alexandra had more of the footy than any other Div 2 team (348.7 disposals per game), the most contested marks (15.9 per game), however they had the lowest scoring efficiency at 55.9%. If they can sharpen up their shots on goal, who knows how high they could finish next season.
Wal was also happy with the intercepting work down back but admitted that more scores should have been created from the interceptions.
As well as seldom having most of their best side on the park, Alexandra is on the hunt for another defender, as they were ‘probably one tall defender short.’
Star forward Ted Watkin won the clubs Best and Fairest (also kicked 46 goals), whilst ex AFL player Sam Kerridge was rewarded for his remarkable season with the Runner Up. Nick Meehan enjoyed a stellar year also.
The reserves found a bit more success than the Seniors this year, finishing 3rd with 7 wins and 8 losses. They made it as far as the Preliminary Final where they were ultimately shown up a superior side in Kinglake. Jordan Rice was the leading goal kicker with 16 for the season, whilst Jack Hehir (BnF), Sam Kidd (runner up), Tim Polson and Tyson Pedlar were all very important this season.
Alexandra was reasonably successful across the grades in Netball, with all teams making the finals.
In A Grade, they finished third, with 12 wins and 6 losses, going down in the first semi-final. This was after finding themselves flying at 8-3. Ellie Hedger enjoyed a fantastic season and was awarded the Best and Fairest with Nicole Hadgkiss (coach) coming runner up. Ellie (INT) and Nicole (GD) both made the Div 2 Team of the Year, as did Caitlan Haggis (WA).
Coach Nicole Hadgkiss was happy with the season and is also looking forward to next year. “There was a really good buzz, we came out quite hard at the start. Towards the backend of the season was a little difficult due to injury; we had a few players out pretty much every week. It was hard to field a side, especially in finals.”
The team that Alexandra went down to in the first semi-final was Broadford, a team they had beaten twice that year and lost to once during the H&A season. Unfortunately for Alexandra they were depleted heading into finals and weren’t able to overcome that.
Alexandra looks a good chance to progress further into finals next year, if they can have fewer injuries as well as the potential for some of the 17&U girls to make the jump to A grade next year according to the Nicole Hadgkiss,
“We have at least a couple of young girls who I reckon are ready to give A grade a go next season.”
Overall, it was great season for Alexandra, especially given it was big improvement on last year, with Nicole expressing that their goal was to make finals and that “not one of these girls has played in a final for Alexandra.”
As well as promising players coming up from the 17&U’s, all the Alexandra netball teams made finals, which is certainly something to be proud of, providing plenty of excitement and promise for season 2023 and the years ahead, including a narrow defeat in the Grand Final for the 17&U’s.
Written by Jordan Peeler