Bec Dudgeon will clock up 200 A-grade games — and life membership with the league — today when Shepparton Swans welcome Euroa to Princess Park.May 17, 2014 4:00am
A Goulburn Valley Netball League premiership has evaded her grasp, but Bec Dudgeon’s record of 199 A-grade games in 11 seasons, including 10 finals campaigns is an impressive one nonetheless.
Dudgeon will clock up 200 A-grade games — and life membership with the league — today when Shepparton Swans welcome Euroa to Princess Park.
Having managed to hit the milestone aged 29, with two separate stints at her hometown club Katandra, speaks volumes of her reliability and consistency.
Dudgeon’s first A-grade exposure came at Shepparton in 2002, where she played for five seasons, excluding a spell at Katandra, before moving with Kate Toy and Gemma O’Sullivan (nee Toy) to the Swans.
After ending a five-year spell at the Swans last year to return to Katandra as A-grade coach, where she won the Picola District Netball League south-east premiership and league medal, Dudgeon was hoping to take this year off, but was happy to return to the Swans in their time of need.
‘‘I had attempted to take the season off, but with a late withdrawal from the team about three weeks before the season started, it really wasn’t a hard decision for me,’’ Dudgeon said.
‘‘I wanted to come back and help a team which has done so much for me over the years.’’
Dudgeon returned to a Swans side a little different to the one she left.
While she was out in Katandra winning A-grade premierships and league medals, the Swans were busy ending a 21-year premiership drought after losing three straight grand finals.
‘‘I was so happy for the girls knowing all the attempts they’ve had over the years,’’ Dudgeon said.
‘‘It would have been nice to be able to do it all together, but I was over the moon for them all and I obviously can’t complain about the season I had in Katandra.’’
The return to Katandra as a coach has benefited Dudgeon’s own game in fuelling her own self-confidence, which her new coach Jana Bruinier said had been reflected in her performances.
‘‘Her presence is inspiring,’’ Bruinier said.
‘‘She’s playing some of the better netball I’ve seen her play even though she came into the team a bit late.
‘‘She’s working well with Eliza Woodhouse and Erin Hopkins in defence and you can definitely see the coach in her.’’
Bruinier is working wonders with Dudgeon, too.
‘‘She’s teaching an old dog some new tricks. She’s great. She really knows her stuff,’’ Dudgeon said.
‘‘I’ve always been in a successful team here though, even if not on grand final day.
‘‘I’ve been lucky to have some great coaches. Colleen Toy coached me since my primary school days, had me at the Bears and then at the Swans, so she’s been fantastic and a great role model.’’
A win against Euroa would be the perfect way to commemorate the 200 A-grade games milestone, and Bruinier said it gave the girls added motivation for today’s clash.
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