Jeparit-Rainbow senior footballers are as keen as any team to start their 2021 season in the Horsham District Football Netball League.
Club president Jason Hutson said after a solid preseason, the players were excited to be back playing again.
"We've been getting 24 on the track most of the time since the 20th of January," he said. "It's been tough to get everyone back involved, but I think they're starting to get going now with the season only a week or two away. People are starting to get a bit more excited and we're getting a lot more optimistic now, with this COVID stuff seeming to have settled down a bit."
Although the Storm have lost some personnel, Hutson said the club has recruited well, with two players making a move from Adelaide and four from Geelong.
After finishing the 2019 season in sixth, Jeparit will again be aiming for finals this year.
"A top three or four spot would be good, but just making finals and seeing how we go from there," Hutson said.
"We'll see how the season pans out at the start, and you can always reassess your goals later if things are looking better or worse than what you predicted. Because no one played last year it's sort of hard to know how teams are going to shape up."
The netball division has been busy in its quest to return to finals. The Storm, who just missed out on finals by percentage in 2019, has signed superstar attacker Penny Fisher from Warrack Eagles and talented defender Georgia Batson from Nhill. Fisher is returning to the club she started at (back when it was Rainbow Netball Club) and has 215 appearances for two premierships.
Fisher's impressive resume includes over 400 games of senior netball and multiple best and fairest in the Wimmera, Mallee and Horsham Leagues.
Batson has come back to netball after a few years off.
Netball director Nat Burke said the club was "excited" to have both recruits on board.
"They (Fisher and Batson) play different ends of the court, which is rare to find for recruits in the same year," Burke said. According to Burke, the Storm had their "best numbers in five or six years" at training and have been fortunate in that they haven't lost too many players from their 2019 roster.
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"Obviously a few players move away for uni, but some are travelling back and some have come back from uni, so we've kind of balanced out in that sense," Burke said.
As well as the club's goal to make finals, Burke said they were hoping for "consistency". "We're hoping to be a bit more competitive and be a bit more consistent across the board and be more competitive with the top teams," she said.
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