On the eve of the 2019 Wimmera Netball Association season, Minyip-Murtoa have turned to a young star in Billie Bibby to take the reins as A Grade netball coach.
Bibby, 23, becomes one of the youngest A Grade coaches in the region. But while Bibby said it was a nerve-wracking proposition, the support of the Minyip-Murtoa community had made her feel ready to take on the top job.
“To be honest, it is pretty daunting,” Bibby said.
“But coaching at Minyip-Murtoa is a great opportunity because the club is so supportive.
“I think if it wasn’t at Minyip-Murtoa, I probably wouldn’t even consider coaching A Grade. I would take a step back and stay out of it.
"But knowing that I have the support of the club and every one of our players, I’m feeling very positive about the year ahead.”
Bibby was approached to take on the coaching role after the departure of Alice Langley in December.
Langley took over from Claire Drum as head coach just a week after the 2018 season, as head coach just a week after the 2018 season, but later relinquished the role due to work commitment.
Minyip-Murtoa have been looking for a coach since, and saw Bibby as the outstanding candidate.
“I had a phone call from the club probably two or three weeks ago saying they would like to offer me the position,” Bibby said.
“I had to have a good think about it, but ultimately I’ve always wanted to coach and this is a great opportunity.
“It’s been such a whirlwind. It has all happened so quick. But I’m really excited now and I’m hoping for some big things for the club going forward this season.”
Bibby said the support she had received since being announced as the head coach had been overwhelming.
“I just have to walk down the street and I’ve had so many people from the Burra community saying congratulations and supporting me,” Bibby said.
“I had a call from our president Scott Arnold straight after the announcement just to see how I was going. Our netball president has got in touch with me as well.
“The club has been fantastic. I’ve had so much support.”
Bibby’s attention will now turn to getting the side prepared to take the next step this season.
The Burras have consistently been a top-four side across the past four seasons but have just fallen short of an A Grade Wimmera netball premiership.
“Obviously the past few years haven’t gone the way we’ve wanted them to, but I think what we have to keep doing is learning from our mistakes and developing as a team,” Bibby said.
“We’re really working hard on our fitness, but also developing that friendship group and the supporting network (and) making sure we all have each others’ backs.”