Demons sign new netball mentor

Leah Sinnott has made the switch from Hampden league club Camperdown to coach the Timboon Demons’ A grade netball side this season.

TIMBOON Demons have secured the services of Leah Sinnott as its new A grade netball coach for 2019.

Sinnott, who is a life member of both the Hampden league and Camperdown Football Netball Club, is set for her first taste of action in the Warrnambool and District league this year.

“The club contacted me late in the Christmas holidays through Carley Hickey who I work with,” she said.

“It wasn’t something I was looking for with the travel and family commitments of my own, so initially I pushed it off.

“We got back to work and they were still struggling to find someone so I offered to run a session down there.”

From there, Sinnott rediscovered her drive to again coach at a high level.

“I was asked again if I was available and even though it had only been one session, I really enjoyed getting to work with fresh faces again,” Sinnott said.

“I decided that we could make it work, so we sat down and it was made clear what was expected from me and also what I could manage.

“Ultimately my decision was based around the fact I like to see netball clubs in the area prosper and this was a good opportunity to help out.

“Had I not known Carley then I doubt the opportunity would have come about.”

Sinnott’s coaching pedigree dates back to 1999, in what was her first year back at junior club Camperdown from a stint playing with Cobden, which included 71 top grade appearances in the red and black.

Together with Tracey Baker, the pair coached the Magpies’ first ever netball premiership at any level, with Sinnott also playing at goal attack in the club’s A reserve grand final triumph that year.

“I’ve pretty much coached constantly since then, whether it be under 13, under 12, under 15, reserve grades or A grade,” Sinnott said.

As a player, Sinnott has lined up in over 330 Hampden league open grade games, is a six-time best and fairest winner at the Magpies and has represented the Bottle Greens at interleague level on six occasions.

She also led Camperdown to A grade grand final appearances as coach in 2010 and 2015.

As it currently stands, Sinnott will mentor the Demons for 12 months.

Despite jumping head first into the unknown, Sinnott is looking forward to a new challenge.

When asked about her knowledge of the Warrnambool and District league, Sinnott said her time spent in the Hampden league had been solely focused on the challenge at hand.

“I’m literally walking in blind, not knowing my own team’s strengths and weaknesses, let alone opposition teams,” she said.

“I only really know one of the girls who I had previously played with during my time at Cobden.

“I’ve never had time to watch the Warrnambool and District league and it’s not something I’ve ever really followed.

“So in terms of game style I’ll be relying on some of the girls who have been playing to guide me through some of that.”

The new coach hopes to have a line-up settled in the coming weeks.

“There were a few girls undecided, but I guess with no senior coach it made it hard for them to commit,” she said.

“I only decided last Wednesday that I would do it.

“So I’ve literally got four weeks to put something together.”

Sinnott said at this stage the core of the squad would come from last year’s team which made the preliminary final for a second consecutive season.

“In terms of players, there’s no-one new to the club that I’m aware of,” she said.

“Cloe (Marr) has left, and there’s another one or two still undecided at this stage.

“I’m not one that’s big on dragging players away from other clubs and at this late stage that would be difficult anyway, so potentially it could be a good season to bring juniors through.

“Every coach says it would be nice to make finals, but this is really a week-by-week proposition at this stage and I’ll reassess goals pretty early on.”

The Demons are expected to first hit the court in a match proper during a round robin tournament in Terang next month.

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