Former Orange Emus and Wallaroos star Alana Thomas gave the Victorian women’s side some welcome news this week, re-signing as coach for a second consecutive season.
The news came as Victoria’s final coaching panel was named last week, Thomas says she is keen to continue giving back to the sport which brought her so much joy during her playing career.
“When I moved down here from New South Wales and decided that I was not going to play I knew that I wanted to coach so I could try and help to try and give back to the sport which has given me so much joy over the years,” Thomas said.
After spending time in an ARU developing coaches program and then acting as an assistant coach for the side Thomas took over the role of head coach in 2016 and is thoroughly excited about continuing the role in 2017.
“We will begin the selection process for the squad over the next couple of weeks, we have our 10’s day coming up on the 25th of February and then we will have a two-three week selection period to try and pick our squad.
“We will be able to train as a group a couple of times a week all the way up to the Southern States Tournament in April.”
After last year using the Southern States tournament as part of the selection process, Thomas says the coaching staff plans to take a different approach this year and bring their final 23-strong squad to the tournament.
“We will hope to bring our final 23 girl squad to Wagga for the Southern States,” Thomas explained.
“Last year we used this as part of our selection trials but we found it to be a bit counterproductive so we would like to have our squad finalized and playing as a group for this tournament.”
Thomas says that having a tournament like the Southern states as a lead up to the Nationals in May is a massive positive and something that the girls will get a lot out of.
“Getting to play against NSW Country and ACT before Nationals is a massive positive for us, by this time the draw for nationals should be out so we will know if we are playing these teams and be able to get a good look at them and how they play,” she said.
“It [Southern States] is a really good tournament, ACT contested the final in nationals last year so we know we are going to have some really good competition.”
This year’s National tournament will be held on the Gold Coast from May 11-14.