Sport

Mathoura re-appoint Rita Howard as A grade netball coach

By Brayden May

MATHOURA believe it has the right system in place to help its netball teams become finals regulars for years to come.

The Timbercutters have moved swiftly to re-appoint Rita Howard as A grade coach for the 2021 season.

Despite the 2020 Picola District Netball League being called off, Howard has helped implement a strong culture in a short period of time.

Club president Andrew Pridham said Howard’s wealth of knowledge was an important factor in the decision.

“It was a pretty easy call to re-appoint Rita as coach of our A grade side,” he said.

“This year has been a nightmare for everyone involved at the club because there was so much uncertainty about what was going to happen.

“We didn’t have any game-based evidence to go off, but all the signs were there that Rita was going to be a terrific coach for our club.

“We’re looking forward to seeing her take the group forward next season.”

While pre-season still might be several months away, Howard said she was excited to bring her team back together.

“I didn’t realise how much I would miss going to training and games when all of this started,” she said.

“The (COVID-19) pandemic has made me realise just how big of a role netball does play in my life. We played one practice match earlier in the year and I thought the signs were exciting.

“There was a lot of positivity around the group in whatever we did. I was working with a terrific group of girls who made my job a lot easier.

“Around the club, you could tell people were excited by what we were building.

“Our challenge now is to try and keep the talent we had coming through the door together.

“If we are able to do that, I think we will be in a good position going into 2021.”

When she was first appointed to the role in December last year, Howard made it clear junior development would be one of her main focus areas.

And Pridham said he was pleased to see her deliver.

“Rita has made it clear she wants to give senior opportunities to our young players,” he said.

“Unfortunately, you can’t always rely on your more experienced players to get the job done so we need juniors coming through.

“If we can have a strong pathway it is going to make us more consistent as a club.”

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