In the far corner of Melbourne, the roar of the Pakenham Lions Netball Club is being felt across the OEFN region, as they prepare themselves for a competitive season in 2022.
The Lions have undergone a smooth pre-season training program where attendance has been of a high level and the commitment from everyone involved has been outstanding.
Club president Marg Jones spoke of a profound sense of positivity at Pakenham over the summer period which sees her club ready to tackle season 2022 with energy and pride.
“We started pre-season training at the end of January and there is a real buzz around the club at the moment,” she said.
“From the 13 & Under players who are in their first year at OEFN to the seniors who are a product of our junior program, we also have girls coming up from juniors to seniors this year which is exciting, it feels really good.”
The club are passionate about providing a quality netball program for its players, with Karen Meredith returning as Head Coach to oversee the 10 squads across senior and junior teams.
This group of leaders include the likes of Matt Cooke, Mandy Hopkins and Alysson Jeanes in the senior ranks while senior players Rebecca Langford, Katie Jones, Hayley Melsen, Jess Rollins and club captain Emma Jones will guide the junior teams.
Following a long process where recent construction works at Toomuc Reserve will help modernise the club, the Lions will benefit from being able to enjoy in new change rooms, umpire rooms, shelter, netball courts and an electronic scoreboard.
The works are due to be completed in mid-April, just in time for the ANZAC Round clash where the club will host ROC.
“We are so grateful for our new facilities at Toomuc Reserve that we get to use soon,” Jones explained.
“Our girls have never had facilities of this quality before, and we are so excited about the next exciting chapter of our club’s long, proud history and being back home standing proudly with Pakenham Football Club united together.”
The Lions have enjoyed a great off-season of individual achievement and success, which instils great confidence amongst the broader club that they can take something away from these milestones and implement them into their programs in 2022.
A number of members in the playing group at Pakenham Lions have been involved in the Victorian Netball League pathway, which consists of Caitlin Cooke, Mia Washington, Tenielle Morrell, Ash Nadarajah, Eliza Molino, Emma Jones, Evie Drake, Ashlyn Gallasch, Abby Curtis and Briar Brown.
Abby Curtis, Charlotte Hudolin and Eliza Molino have been named in Netball Victoria Centre East Talent Academy for 2022, while Molino received the callup to be part of the Netball Victoria 17 & Under State Team.
Just as a full season of netball is about to get underway, the Lions aim to be competitive and achieve excellence but as always for a club with a magnificent off-field culture, success is measured in different ways.
A true netball family that care about each other, playing good quality netball on a Saturday has its importance, but the real focus at Toomuc Reserve this season is to ensure players are enjoying their netball.
“Winning finals and premierships would be nice, but it’s more about members around the club enjoying themselves and the netball program,” Jones said.
“We have great faith in our players, they’re working really hard, and there’s a real club and team environment, which is where we believe when magic happens.”