Horsham Saints' gun Ashlee Grace says she is excited to take the next step in a natural progression and lead her side back to the top of the Wimmera Netball Association.
Grace will co-coach the Saints' A Grade side in 2021, alongside fellow premiership player Shannon Cross.
A two-time premiership coach, Cross returns to the role having last coached the Saints in 2019.
Grace has captained the Saints for the past three years, and will step into a coaching role for the first time.
"Being the captain, I've already been in that leadership role. I'm very confident in my ability as a player but now it's about progressing into the coaching (role). Now, after finishing my PE teaching degree hopefully that can help out a bit too," she said.
"I'm very excited about it. It's going to be good coming into preseason this year, without there being any events this year, obviously, and (having the chance to) reconnect with all the current players we've got and hopefully some new players."
The pair featured in both of the Saints' 2017 and 2018 premierships.
Horsham Saints deputy netball director Vernetta Taylor was confident the two would compliment each other.
"I think it's really important that coaches have support and I feel in a joint role they will be able to support each other," she said.
"Particularly for Ashlee, because it is different when you're in that coaching role and expected to make tough decisions. I think it will be wonderful to have Shannon as an ally.
"They definitely have different and unique attributes that they'll bring to the role. Ashlee is a real motivator and really pushes the players to be the best they can be. Shannon has a different (leadership) style so I think the two of them will combine really well."
Cross is expected to return to the court, having missed the 2019 season after giving birth to her child.
Taylor said locking in coaches early allowed the club the best possible preparation for the new season.
"They can make contact with the players and really set the vision for what the upcoming season will be," she said.
"I know Ashlee in particular will be very focused on a solid pre-season. She works very hard off-court, she'll be leading the way.
"I think everyone will be very excited to get around pre-season and get back out there and give it a whirl."
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Grace was hopeful of fostering a supportive culture at the club.
"I definitely want to bring back that family culture, and be really positive about working together as a team. It would be nice to bring up some juniors, with them not having (a season) this year and working with them as well," she said.
"We're all definitely missing netball. Just having that social side of pre-season and that team bonding and connectedness together will be a good start, for sure."
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