After a pre-season shake-up which included Orange High’s relegation, the eight teams which will contest Orange Netball Association’s division one Toyota Cup in 2017 have been finalised.
It’s set to be a cracking title fight too.
Three clubs will field two sides in the top division, with just one new side being added to the league in place of the black and golds.
As per last season when it was still known as Robin Hood, the newly affiliated Orange City club indicated several months ago it would nominate two sides, and has done so.
The Lions’ top side will take on Life Studio in a massive round one clash, while Orange City Newey’s Drive-Thru Cleaners will clash with Vipers in its first game in orange and green.
Life Studio will also field a second side, known once again as the Mid West Eyes while Hawks will have two in the top division as well.
In 2015 the two blues fielded two sides in first grade, before moving back to one last winter. That side, Royal Hawks, fell at the final hurdle.
They pushed eventual champions Robin Hood all the way though, forcing the decider into extra-time. Royal Hawks take on Life Studio Mid West Eyes in round one.
Kinross rounds out the top division and will play Hawks Orange Central in the season-opener on April 29.
“It’s really exciting to see three clubs with a couple of teams each. Hawks have done it in the past and obviously Robin Hood, now Orange City, and Life Studio has as well, but I think this might the first time all three have had multiple sides,” ONA president Jacki Jasprizza said.
“I think it’ll be a really exciting season, you never really know what the teams will bring until the season kicks off so it’ll be an exciting start to the year.”
You never really know what the teams will bring until the season kicks off so it’ll be an exciting start to the year.ONA president Jacki Jasprizza
While Jasprizza admitted to being uncertain how each side will shape up, she said it was virtually a no-brainer to highlight Orange City as pre-season favourites.
After winning its ninth consecutive title last winter the club looks as though it will only get stronger, reportedly the Lions have secured a couple of big off-season recruits.
“They’ve won so many, I think they have to be among the pre-season title favourites,” Jasprizza said.
“A few of their players are getting a little bit older now but they’re just so in tune with each other, I think with a couple of new faces they might get even stronger.
“(Royal) Hawks though, that side has been together for a few years now and almost went all the way last season so I think they’ll be right up there again.
“Life Studio, they’ll have virtually the same bunch together again so they should contend and Vipers will be strong again too.
“With some new faces around, while teams are gelling and getting to know one another it might be a good chance for those other sides to take some big scalps though.”