Season kicks off

Joe Irons, Samantha Irons, Ryan Koschitzke, Mark Savage, Jarrod Lane and Jason Williams show off the new guernseys for the Narrandera Eagles.

The Narrandera Imperial Football Netball Club is looking forward to the start of the season, with a new major sponsor lined up for the next three years.

The season kicks off this weekend, with the footballers heading to Griffith, while the junior netballers will have their first home games on Saturday. To celebrate the start of the season, the juniors will be holding a sausage sizzle at their training session tonight (Thursday April 19).

Elders have taken on the role as the major sponsors for the senior football team, and manager of Elders Narrandera Ryan Koschitzke said it was exciting to be a part of the club.

“All in all, we’re looking forward to the next three years of being involved in the football club,” Mr Koschitzke said.

Elders Narrandera have a vested interest in ensuring the teams do well, with one of their own in the mix.

“Young Ross Shaw, our agronomist played last year, so he’ll be back again for this season. Ross will have a bit of a run around, which is good.”

Both the football and netball teams are happy and confident with their line-ups so far. Samantha Irons, senior netball co ordinator, said she believes this year will see all grades of netball strengthen.

“Our A grade was quite competitive last year, and should be again this year, if not more,” Ms Irons explained. “We’ve got a very strong list, and a lot of girls who played in the rep team last year with both the junior team and the senior team. We’ve got plenty of stars, so to speak. The other grades are looking better as well.

“We’ve had a really big influx of juniors, and quality juniors, who play rep netball. It’s made every grade that little bit stronger, having the younger girls come up. The rep netball is helping. It’s independent of our club, but having those girls play in both leagues – we’re seeing the effect of both the quality coaches in the junior netball, and the opportunities for outside experience and other coaching styles from the rep netball.”

Ms Irons was also full of praise for the senior netball coaches this year.

“I’m really happy with the quality of our coaches this year. Georgia Fuller is our A-grade coach, and we’re very lucky to have her come over. She’s coached Barellan A-grade recently. She’s very heavily involved with rep netball, and we’re very lucky to have her skills and have her helping us out.

“Emma Piltz will be our A-reserve coach, and Emma’s got a lot of coaching experience and playing experience. We’re trying to get some of those people with a bit more experience back in the club.

“With the B-grade, we have co-coaches Mandy Pearson and Kirsty Rogers. Again, a good combination between the two of them; someone with a bit of experience and someone younger with a bit of a fresh perspective. And Shannon Harrison is coaching C grade. She really is fantastic.”

The senior Eagles, on the other hand, are looking forward to a season with some fresh blood on the team.

“We’ve got a few new players; five or six new faces this week and a couple returning,” seniors captain and coach Jarrod Lane said. “Josh Bennett’s probably the main one; he’s been a good footballer for a long time, and the two Renet brothers; Corey Baxter and Damian Williams Jr is the latest one. I’m really looking forward to getting them involved; we’ve got a good group of young guys coming through. Just to have that quality, and to give us a bit of experience.”

Matt and Blake Renet, along with Williams Jr, Baxter and Bennet have made the transition from playing in Canberra to join the Eagles this year.

“We’re looking forward to getting in the field. It’s been a long pre-season. It goes on forever sometimes. It’ll be nice to get stuck into it again,” Mr Lane said.

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