THEY say the team that trains together, wins together.
Yarra Valley Grammar Ariels coach Christina Puopolo believes having her side together all week will be a key to their chances in the Victorian Netball League season when play begins on February 27.
Puopolo said her young side was quickly gelling into an impressive team.
“With the group of girls we have, they seem to really want to work hard. It’s a good group which is bonding well so I have a good feeling about this season.
“In past years we have had talented players but they were also involved in other programs and teams so we hardly ever trained together, which made it hard to work on our team and our structure.”
The Ariels have lost some star talent in goal-shooter Sarah Main and goal-attack Stephanie Puopolo, although Puopolo missed much of last season with a knee injury.
Main has joined Monash University Central while Puopolo signed with Adelaide Thunderbirds in the ANZ championship and has moved to Adelaide.
But former Queensland Firebirds player Candice Adams has joined the club after moving to Melbourne to join boyfriend and Olympic rower Josh Dunkley-Smith.
“We found out by chance that Candice was moving to Melbourne and we chatted and she decided to join us,” Puopolo said. “Candice will make a bit of difference and is a very talented player to have in goal attack.”
Melbourne Vixens squad member Shannon Eagland and AIS member Micaela Wilson are also on the Ariels list but Puopolo won’t know how often she will have use of them until the season begins.
“If Shannon don’t get much court time then we will have them week to week but it would be nice for her to get good court time at that level,” Puopolo said.
Wilson will play either goalkeeper or goal defence but could miss matches as she is trying out for the Australian 21 and under side.
Puopolo said the Ariels division 1 side again looked likely to contend for the premiership after making the finals last year while the under-19 Ariels side had some impressive talent.
The VNL pre-season competition continues on Wednesday night at the State Netball and Hockey Centre, Parkville.