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Top Saint Sonia

BRANXHOLME-WALLACEDALE has finalised its netball coaching team for 2020, with Sonia McKay taking on the club’s top job as A grade coach.

With the South West District Football Netball League (SWDFNL) season just over a month away, time was running out for Branxholme-Wallacedale to appoint its top coach.

Despite the lengthy delay, the Saints opted to appoint from within, with the second-year player given to the role.

While coming off a season where she only played a single game due to an ACL injury, McKay said she was initially hesitant to take on the role, but wasn’t prepared to let the club go without a leader.

“The opportunity came about through conversations regarding other coaching roles at the club,” she said.

“I was initially hesitant to take on too many things given my current working commitments, but given the club was looking for an A grade coach and it isn’t new to me, I accepted the role.

“I wasn’t going to see the club without a senior netball coach when it is something that I am qualified to do.”

Having just six weeks to prepare for round one, McKay knows she is going to be up against it to get her team ready, but she is ready to rise to the challenge.

“It’s an odd feeling, being only my second year at the club and I spent basically the entire season last year watching from the sidelines,” she said.

“While I do generally prefer for more time to prepare for a season, I’ve spent 12 months thinking about netball because it’s all I can do, and coaching is something that I have always enjoyed.”

The Saints’ shooter last coached in 2018 as Coleraine’s A grade coach and she expects her past leadership to help her in 2020.

“Teaching netball and passing on knowledge that I've gained over a really long period of time is pretty special for me,” she said.

“Thinking about new strategies and tactics to try and keep other teams guessing is kind of exciting to me.

 “The biggest challenge is forming a team willing to put the work in to try and execute those plans.”

Coming back from a torn ACL, McKay is eager to get back on the court and said she expects to be in action around May.

“I certainly hope to be (back on the court this season),” she said.

“I snapped my ACL in round one last season during my first game at the club which was devastating.

“At the moment I’m still working to get it as strong as I can so I’m a little limited as to what I can do during pre-season, but I’m working on getting back on the court around April-May.”

Along with McKay, the Saints have appointed a mix of youth and experience through its coaching ranks.

McKay expects the group the feed off each other and work as one unit, rather than eight different teams.

“There is a good mix between youth and experience within our coaches this year,” she said.

“I think there are plenty of ladies there who can bounce off each other and so far, everyone seems to be willing to help each other.

“With a bit of luck, hopefully the entire season can continue along that line.”

The Saints kick of their season at home on April 18 against Westerns.

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