On the morning of Christmas day, Nita Noble decided to give the Orange Tigers a Christmas present: a senior women’s coach.
The 2018 youth girls’ coach said something just clicked, and with the support of her husband, she decided to cast off her plans to be an umpire for the Central West AFL in 2019 and throw herself into a coaching role.
“I love the girls, they’re more than teammates, they’re friends,” she said.
“I messaged [president Andrew Nelson] and said I was interested and it happened from there.”
Noble has played for the Tigers for the past three seasons on top of taking the reigns in the youth girls alongside Renee Cullis, and said her experience with the side would hopefully be a boon.
If they get it right on gameday, anything can happen.Nita Noble
“I’ve played the past three years with the girls and understand a bit of the team dynamics and where they like to play,” she said.
“That’ll definitely help with the position so I’m looking forward to it, a little nervous but we’ll see how we go.”
Like her counterpart in men’s coach Dale Hunter, Noble won’t hesitate to pull on a jumper if the side needs her, but she said she’d be happy on the sidelines.
“If we’ve got the numbers, as I suspect we will then I’ll focus on coaching,” Noble said.
“A few of the youth girls have aged out this year and hopefully a few of them will be keen to step up to the women’s so a few of them will hopefully do that, hopefully we’ll get many returning and some new girls as well.”
She has a few early goals, on and off-field, hinting she wanted to bring the side together.
“I’d like to focus on getting the Tigers spirit back, the past few years we’ve had a few ups and downs, when you get along off the field you play on the field,” she said.
“On the field people have some key positions they like to play which they’re really good at so I’d like to keep people where their strengths are and build their skills up that way, get the team to learn from each other.”
She said she was hoping some members of the side who showed leadership in 2018 – such as captain Jacqui Harris, Amy Symons and Emma Clark – would continue mentoring less experienced players in 2019.
She said there was a huge amount of potential in the group, and “if they get it right on gameday, anything can happen”, and hoped to emulate her coaching debut with the youth girls, who won the flag in 2018.
She said she hoped some of them made the jump to senior footy.
“There are a couple of girls I have my eye on, a couple of youth girls who we can hopefully build up from the younger generation,” she said.
“Renee [Cullis] and I coached it last year, we’ve learned the dynamics of that team as well so we’re hoping the girls who have aged out keep going.”
“I truly believe we have one of the strongest defensive sides in the Central West and if we can work on developing that same intensity in the forward line we will definitely be in contention for the premiership,” Noble said.
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