Northern Hawks and Cavaliers begin 2017 state netball league campaigns

RIVALS: Northern Hawks and Cavaliers doing battle last season at the Silverdome. The two Launceston state netball clubs begin their 2017 flag quests on Saturday.

RIVALS: Northern Hawks and Cavaliers doing battle last season at the Silverdome. The two Launceston state netball clubs begin their 2017 flag quests on Saturday.

The Northern Hawks will take on Arrows in a rematch of last season’s State League netball grand final in their 2017 season opener at the Silverdome on Saturday.

The Hawks have had personnel changes in the off-season losing Sarah Lyons and Jen Guy.

But the club have regained Danni Pickett after a two-year stint in the SA state league with the former Australian junior camp athlete adding a wealth of experience to the side and creating a more mobile shooting end alongside Ashlea Mawer and Zoe Claridge.

Former Burnie player Dannielle Devlin has joined the group and Chelsea Mawer has been promoted from the 19 and unders to fill a spot in the mid-court alongside Ashton Whiley and Nikea Lapham.

“We were left with unfinished business last season, but I am excited by the depth and experience of this year’s playing group, who are making it difficult to determine a starting seven,” Northern Hawks coach Ruth Tuohy said.

“The healthy competition for a spot on the court has made players more accountable for themselves and the team. To take the next step we will need to adapt quickly to any teams that challenge us with the right decisions and connections with the ball down the court.” 

Cavaliers begin their 2017 season facing off against an old, but newly-returned state league foe in OHA.

Cavaliers and OHA have a long history, both entering the TNL competition in 1996. 

Despite a strong contingent of returning players this season in Kate Gibson, Dana Lester, and the Coote sisters, Tessa and Lydia, Cavaliers have suffered a significant loss before the first whistle of the season. Returning to the club after a four-year absence studying interstate, key centre-court player Lucy Dennis sustained a season-ending achilles injury.

“Lucy is a huge loss to our team this year as her experience and athleticism are truly unique and she is the type of player who contributes just as much off court as she does on,” coach Dannie Carstens. 

Carstens has enticed experienced Cavalier Estelle Margetts, as well as former Cavalier and Northern Hawks player, Jacky Bennett back to the court in 2017.

Along with former Hawks recruits Jamie Easther and Lace McHugh, Karan’s Isabella Maskell and English import Rachael Smith, Cavaliers are set to push for finals.

“We have a very new look Cavaliers Opens team this year and I am really excited about what we can achieve together as a group,” Carstens said. “Not only do we have some very talented individuals, we have the mix of a dynamic and connected team, keen to be back in finals in 2017.”

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