THE Warrack Eagles have had a tumultuous year; lurching from lockdown to playing and losing key players to injury across the season, but coach Ashlynn McKenzie couldn't be prouder of her side.
McKenzie said she was delighted with the way her players had responded to the adversity of season 2021, and said there was much to look forward to in 2022.
"The highlight has just been how well the girls have come together and overcome the adversity of the season. Lowlights have been the injuries we've sustained," she said.
"We lost myself to an ACL tear, Jess Kelly to a torn plantar fascia and Megan Werner. The girls throughout the club as a whole senior side have stepped up with these losses and filled shoes more than I could have expected.
The Eagles looked to have cemented a top three position for much of the season, however close losses to the Southern Mallee Giants, by 4 points, and Stawell, by 1 point, allowed Dimboola to surge into third place in the disjointed final few rounds of the season.
The Eagles finished fourth, with 7 wins and 5 losses, beating out Stawell for a place in the finals by less than a percent.
"We've had some disappointing losses but that's netball. The girls have played tremendous netball and there's still things to work on, but each week we're chipping away and becoming better. I couldn't be prouder," McKenzie said.
According to McKenzie, the Eagles had improved greatly on their 2019 campaign, which saw them finish fifth.
"We did well on working on all the areas we wanted too. All over the court the girls have been working on their areas week by week and it's showing out on the court," she said.
"Next season I think we just need to work on our patience and being smarter with the ball. When we play patient netball we can match any team."
When asked to pinpoint a standout player, McKenzie said that getting through 2021 had been a whole-team effort.
"Every player has impressed me this year, I honestly cannot single one person out. Without everyone doing their bit and contributing we wouldn't be where we are now," she said.
Keeping the team healthy and together will be one of the keys for bouncing back for another premiership tilt in 2022.
Recruitment is a card McKenzie is keeping close to her chest.
"We have great players around and we're always on the lookout for people who will add to the great environment we have," she said.
"Off season we will just keep chipping away at things we want to improve and becoming a stronger unit. We have such a good vibe around the club, as a senior squad as a whole, across all grades.
"We want to continue that and continue growing the force of the great netball and football club that we have."
"There are big things to come from every grade in both footy and netball next season. It's an exciting time for us."
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