IF YOU’VE strolled past the EDNA netball courts on a Wednesday night, you’d know mixed netball in Echuca is as popular as ever.
The state’s best mixed talents will be in town this weekend, ramping up their preparation for the National Championships next Easter.
That includes Tongala’s Corey and Dylan Nexhip, both part of this year’s championships.
Jarrad Walker, the coach of the Victorian Mixed team who lives in Echuca, said the weekend’s training camp was about getting ready to defend his side’s national title, as well as promoting the mixed game through our community.
‘‘It’s a great chance to get the squad up here and involved in the local community, and hopefully raise the profile of men’s and mixed netball,’’ he said.
The team will assemble Friday evening, before a series of events on the Saturday supported by local Echuca businesses.
It will head down to the new F45 studio for a workout on Saturday morning before heading through the town — to Oz Mini Golf and Maze, TwistEd and Echuca Stand Up Paddle.
But the competition will heat up in the afternoon, with opening training at Echuca Stadium from 4pm to 5.30pm before an exhibition match from 5.30pm to 7pm.
‘‘Our squad has 12 or 13 players, we’ve got another previous men’s player coming across from Albury and we’ve got some Echuca players helping out too - we’re hoping to have four or five of them to help fill some spots,’’ Walker said.
‘‘It’s a bit of an intraclub game but there should be some local talent on show as well.’’
With the 2018 National titles still some months away, Walker said the training camp would see the preparations really start to take shape.
‘‘For the squad we’re looking for team bonding and for fitness. It’s a chance to hit the court in a different location, it’s a lot warmer up here but that’s going to help our players’ conditioning,’’ he said.
‘‘We think it’s a good chance to promote the sport and to get more people involved with mixed netball.
‘‘We’re a close-knit group and we like the idea of getting in touch with the community, especially being an area where Dylan and Corey are from.’’
His second year of coaching the side, Walker said consistency within the squad could take them back to the top in 2018.
‘‘We’ve got the same squad, and that’s a really good thing,’’ he said.
‘‘It doesn’t happen that often that you’d retain the exact same team, and it’s fantastic for me. We hope to see a lot of growth from the team and see what we can do differently.’’