By Jackson Russell
Wallan has begun preparations for the 2021 Riddell District Football Netball League season, re-signing both football and netball senior coaches.
After breaking the Magpies’ finals drought and taking the side to a grand final appearance, Daniel Nolan will again head the senior football side next year.
Nolan said he was excited and honoured to be coaching the club for another season.
“I’m excited to get through the challenge of COVID-19 and work with the committee so we can be sustainable for the future,” he said.
“It was a quick and easy decision; I was ready to recommit.
“It’s a great family club, our playing group has a great culture and it’s somewhere I feel we can continue to have sustained success.”
Nolan said he was excited about the future of the club, with nine players from last year’s grand final side aged 22 or younger, the majority of which played their junior footy at Wallan and won the under 18.5 premiership in 2017.
“Now those players are coming through and really having an impact at senior level… which is exciting for the future of the club,” he said.
Nolan said last year’s finals success, including a reserves flag, and heartbreaking 85-point grand final loss to Rupertswood served as motivation for 2021.
“That style of football really held up for most of the finals series and we’re confident we can take it to the next level in 2021,” he said.
“My number one aim over this break is to retain our playing group because I believe this list is good enough to challenge. We won’t be going on a big recruiting drive, it’s about retaining from within.”
Senior netball coach Chris Cameron returns to the club after guiding the A Grade team to a preliminary final appearance, along with coaching the RDFNL side in interleague competition.
Cameron said with 2020 not panning out as planned, he had some unfinished business at Greenhill Reserve.
“We did a lot of work in the background last year building on a strong culture and this year would’ve been really exciting for all four teams,” he said.
“I know we’ve worked really hard since I jumped on in 2018 rebuilding netball and we’re in a really good position and I’m just not ready to step away.”
The Magpies have been able to retain most of their 2019 list and add some new faces with Victorian Netball League experience.
Cameron said the Magpies had added goal attack Chloe Gray, who has VNL experience with the Casey Demons.
“We’ve had a really strong A Grade squad but I think she’s the last piece of the puzzle to strengthen the squad we already have,” he said.
“What we’ve done is offered all the girls from the 2020 squad a spot in 2021 so we’re taking this as just a really long preseason and we’ll come out firing next year.
“I think it’s going to be a great and exciting 2021 season and I can’t wait to get back on the court and down to business.”