Wandin Football Netball Club endured a tough year in 2021, as they again struggled for form and consistency in good results.
Despite proving to be competitive at times, the senior football side finished eighth on the ladder with one win while the reserves won four games to finish in fifth.
Trying to find its form as the season progressed, their first win came in Round 10 against Doveton, moving away from a two-point ball game at three quarter time to run away with the match.
Having both featured in the Outer East Team of the Year, captain Tom Hinds and young gun Connor Smith are well regarded as the best players at the Bulldogs, with Hinds’ leadership from the backline proving to be invaluable during a tough year.
Smith on the other hand, making his senior debut as a 16-year-old, impressed on the field averaging more than 28 disposals through the first half of the season to be picked up by the Eastern Ranges to join their talent academy program.
The club has also been uplifted in recent times by the recruitment of junior footballer Flynn Kroeger to Geelong through the NAB AFL Draft, who also featured in the seniors Round One match against Doveton.
In the netball ranks, all sides put in a fair effort to win 19 games among all four teams, while B Grade was the standout with seven wins to finish in third on the ladder.
With several of its players participating in the VNL program early in the year, the Bulldogs were impacted as these players were not able to contribute full time, but the influx of new players brought the squad closer together.
“We went from being individual teams to training as a full squad,” said Netball Coordinator Penelope Harris.
“There was an element of understanding from the coaches on what they could do physically but also understanding the players in a wellbeing perspective and it gave the girls a sense of being really inclusive.”
Aside from the strong number of players that filled the sides by seasons end, the other highlights from the Netball program at Wandin included game milestones from Charlotte Sparkes (100 games) as well as Alicia Kay and Mel Lang who both notched up 200 games.
The standout performers across netball included the likes of Abby Gedge, Chelsea Alderman, Ruby Tidd, Madeline George and Charlotte Sparkes who featured in the league Team of the Year.
Heading into season 2022, Wandin will have the clear aim of moving up the ladder and into finals contention for all teams across the club.
But for the netballers more specifically, the squad will be looking to improve their game plan and continue developing players to compete against the stronger clubs with the view to returning to the strong winning culture they once had.
A strong part of this process will be the recruitment of players, which is already well underway.
“We have had a good showing of intent in player retention for 2022 and our head coach Ruby Tidd has been instrumental in recruitment, and she’s done an amazing job in this space,” Harris said.
“With our younger players, they will soon become the next generation which means we need to develop them in a really secure way to avoid burn out and stay at the club because we are really keen have success return for us again.”
|Totally WorkWear Premier Division||8th||1||7|
|Coates Premier Division Reserves||5th||4||4|
|Box Hill Institute U19 Division One||7th||1||7|
|Kärcher Premier A Grade||7th||4||5|
|Kärcher Premier B Grade||3rd||7||2|
|Kärcher Premier C Grade||7th||4||5|
|Kärcher Premier D Grade||8th||4||5|