THIS season’s Australian Netball League is expected to be tough but Orange’s Mardi Aplin is going in more relaxed.
Aplin will line up with the Canberra Darters for her second ANL season, which starts this weekend, and is excited about what lies ahead.
“I’m going in with a bit of a different mindset this year because I’ve already got one season under my belt,” Aplin said.
“I’m probably a lot more relaxed.”
The competition will be tougher this season than in previous years with a number of ANZ Championship players lining up in the ANL sides.
“It will be a completely different game to what we’ve experienced before,” Aplin said.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity. I love the opportunity to do these things.”
In 2013 the Darters struggled and Aplin said the side simply didn’t gel.
However, this season she is confident her team will be stronger.
“This year we’ve had a really good pre-season. They’re a good bunch of girls,” she said.
“Our goal is to play four good quarters each game. We want to cut down the errors and do the simple things right.”
Aplin was selected in the Darters after helping Arawang to back-to-back ACT State League netball titles this year.
Arawang had to come from behind to beat Tuggeranong 43-37 in last month’s grand final.
Aplin said that was the last time she’d be playing for Arawang, and she’ll also retire from the Darters after this season.
“My travelling boots get hung up after this year,” she explained.
“I’ll still play in Orange, I just won’t travel.”
Aplin, who is sharing the Darters’ vice-captain duties with Rebecca Collis, will play goal attack for the Canberra side, but could also move to wing attack if needed.
At 35, Aplin is one of the senior members of the Darters, but is not the oldest after her good friend Nardia Macdonald was also selected in the Canberra team.
“There’s not too many people born in the 70s in the program,” Aplin laughed.
The Darters are in Tasmania this weekend and take on the Tassie Spirit at 8.30pm today, followed by the Southern Fusion at 10am tomorrow in their opening rounds.