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.