'Unknown' new teams Orange's biggest State League challenge

STRONG: Sheryll Selwood has been a mainstay in defence for Orange and will be again as the team guns for a 19th State League title in a row. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 0201netball9

STRONG: Sheryll Selwood has been a mainstay in defence for Orange and will be again as the team guns for a 19th State League title in a row. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 0201netball9

ORANGE coach Petrina Allen says her side is wary of the unknown ahead of the opening round of the 2014 Graincorp Central West State League on Sunday.

Gunning for a 19th consecutive state league title this winter, Orange will be faced with challenges from the usual suspects in the form of Dubbo, Bathurst, Orange B and Forbes, but it’s the return of Mudgee and Lithgow that has Allen steeling her Orange A outfit for a tough 2014 campaign.

“There’s a definitely an unknown element this year,” Allen said.

“It’s hard to say (who’s going to be tough), Lithgow are back and there’s a couple of teams that look strong ... Orange B might be our toughest opposition.

“We’ve got a fairly full day this Sunday and we’re only just getting a team together this week.

“I think, even though we’ve played a lot together, we’ll be reinforcing combinations. We’ve got (shooter) Sinead (Bradley) back and she’s played a bit of netball with some girls but not others, so they’re the areas we’re looking at.”

To be fair, though, Orange couldn’t be heading into this year’s state league with a better preparation.

The newly crowned Netball NSW open state champions following a successful state titles earlier this season, Orange A will be unbackable favourites to claim this year’s Central West State League as well.

Allen, though, admitted with success comes pressure.

And some of the Orange A girls might be feeling it when they step out on to the Anzac Park courts in Orange on Sunday.

“Yes, I think they will be,” she fired, with young guns Sophie Kloosterman and Shannen Downer in this year’s State League squad.

“There’s a few young girls coming into the squad this year that have got to fit in with the older girls in the squad, but it’s such a great group of girls they’ll make them feel welcome.”

The opening round of the 2014 Graincorp Central West State League is on Sunday.

ORANGE THUNDER: Sophie Beer, Emily Callaway, Sinead Bradley, Shannen Downer, Tegan Dray, Erin Johnstone, Sophie Kloosterman, Jacky Lyden, Sheryll Selwood, Danielle Turner, Amanda Hurford.

ORANGE B: Katelin Eslick, Laura Harris, Shannon Kavanagh, Katie Matthews, Bridie McClure, Samantha Spicer, Kristy Sullivan, Abby Tilburg, Madison Tufuga, Kellie Watson.

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