Echuca Youth Girls team will be aiming for back-to-back flags when it takes part in this year's Shepparton and District Junior Football League.LUKE MCMANUS March 22, 2014 4:04am
Youth girls team members (from back left) Alyssa Clark, Tori-Lee Coatsworth, Rebecca Kennedy, Imogen Lamb, Nastassja Hansen, Jade Jones, Tanika Edwards, Larney Allan, Aisha Kirchhofer, Sophie Douglas; (front) Chelsea Williams, Alyx Glanville, Kiara Hiscox, Mya Mongta, Makayla Armstrong, Maddy Zlateff, Krystelle Lloyd.
Strength in numbers will be the key behind Echuca Youth Girls’ quest for back-to-back premierships.
The reigning premiers took to Victoria Park for the first time on Wednesday ahead of the second annual youth girls football season due to kick off in May.
Guided by coach David Pearson, the girls have been training for about three weeks and have been bolstered by a host of new faces.
Interest and awareness generated from the competition’s inaugural season has seen an injection of about 12 new players during the off-season, a number which the second-year coach noted should create healthy competition for spots during the side’s premiership tilt.
‘‘Our numbers are huge compared to last season,’’ Pearson said.
‘‘We were lucky to get 10 to training. We’re seeing a consistent number of about 19 at training this year and have about 24 on our list at the moment.
‘‘Whether all of them commit to playing is another thing but our numbers are looking really good.
‘‘Last year we were a bit desperate.
‘‘If they didn’t come to training, they could still play. This year if they’re not going to train, they may not get a game.
‘‘Numbers and ability wise, we’ll be hard to beat this season.’’
Pearson said the team carried a more ‘‘even spread of talent’’ compared to last season and the gap between the squad’s top and bottom tiered players had closed significantly.
The shift has allowed Pearson to implement a streamlined training strategy with the aim of fast-tracking the development of its players.
‘‘It’s difficult to up the ante with training because we have more newer players than original players, so skill-based drills and the basics are the most important,’’ he said.
‘‘We’ll try to incorporate more game-type scenarios mainly to teach the girls where to run and how to read the play.
‘‘This is where the more experienced girls can help.’’
The role of the squad’s senior girls was underlined after Pearson attended a Goulburn Murray coaches forum in Kialla on Monday night.
He walked away enlightened by Echuca United premiership coach Scott Beattie’s address in which he talked about a specialised mentor program at the Eagles.
‘‘We went away thinking we could do exactly the same thing (at Echuca),’’ Pearson said.
‘‘We have such a wide age group and we’ll look to the older girls to take the younger girls under their wing.
‘‘Hopefully we can buddy them up at training and in a game, to teach them the fundamentals and things we can’t teach them as coaches.’’
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