Beck O'Connell speaks to Wodonga Saints coach Gina Skinner about the Saints strong start to the season.
BO'C: Wodonga Saints have had an incredible start to the season with a win against Chiltern and a two goal loss to Yackandandah last week. What's changed from recent years?
GS: I think the last couple of years we've been putting together a really good group of senior players and some new players that can fit within the club. It's been really important and a focus of the club. People that can provide input and good skills has been a target over the last couple of years and having good role models is highly important for the Wodonga Saints.
BO'C: You're a playing coach as well, how do you find the balance to do both?
GS: Sometimes it's hard to look and see what's happening on the full court and sometimes I come off to make sure that I can actually see what the girls are doing. I give a lot of direction on the court and I think the girls like that. We haven't really had any major issues. As a playing coach, it's good because I can direct people and explain to them what they need to do and I can show them rather than just voicing my opinion. I think the girls do actually look up to me in regards to the fact that I am still playing and relatively fit, and in that way there's nothing I can't do and can't show them. Obviously it's good to be able to just sit on the sidelines and voice my direction, but I think it's good to be able to work with the girls too.
BO'C: What are some of the things we can expect from the Saints in 2019?
GS: We're quite happy being under the radar. We don't want to put any massive expectations on ourselves. We have looked at other clubs and thought we have a chance to make finals this year. I'm just focused on every game at this stage as a coach, because you can't just expect that you're going to be there. That's my plan, to work our way up to finals.
BO'C: There's been discussion around the club as a whole about finding a home, have you got any insight into where the club is at with it at this stage?
GS: At this stage, I think it would be nice to find a home. We've been working relatively well with the Wodonga Bulldogs. I don't have any issues in regards to the netball side of things, but it would be nice to be able to train and play where you train and play. We train at Kelly Park which is fantastic, and Netball Wodonga has been fantastic in regards to us and supporting the Wodonga Saints. We do have multiple courts out there and it's great because we don't really have to worry about having one court or two courts. I think we have a great relationship between Netball Wodonga and the Wodonga Bulldogs and obviously Wodonga Council with the ground that we use. I think financially, we do have to realistically look at having our own ground. Obviously we want to work towards something, but we need to work with the council to organise that for ourselves.
BO'C: You take on Beechworth this week, what's the focus for Saturday?
GS: My focus as a senior coach is just on controlling our game.
- Receive our daily newsletter straight to your inbox each morning from The Border Mail. Sign up here