Swans off to stellar start under new coach

May 21, 2024 BY

Swans shooter Ellen Doyle will return to the court this weekend. Insert: South Barwon co-captain Olivia Cameron is again a key cog for the Swans in 2024. Photos: MARCEL BERENS/SPORTS MEDIA IMAGES

A NEW coach has not delayed South Barwon’s mission to return to the Geelong Netball League (GNL) finals, with the Swans unbeaten through five rounds.

The Swans, just one of two sides to remain undefeated heading into Round 6, have adjusted well under the tutelage of new A Grade coach Billy Mahoney, who arrived at McDonald Reserve from Colac at the end of last year.

While adjusting to a new coach could take time, Mahoney said the playing group had met the challenge to this point, tallying recent wins against Grovedale, Lara, fellow finalists St Joseph’s, last year’s runners-up Colac, and St Mary’s.

“Obviously this is my first year with the group and it’s definitely been a big learning curve for myself and the players, adapting to the different coaching,

South Barwon defender Maddison McKiernan.

“The girls are really determined this year to put their best foot forward and give it a red hot crack, and I think our recent performances have shown that.”

Retaining the nucleus of co-captain Olivia Cameron, 2022 best and fairest Ellen Doyle, and star defender Maddie McKiernan, Mahoney said he had felt embraced by the club since taking on the head coach position.

Mahoney is no stranger to local netball, previously taking on roles with the aforementioned Colac Tigers, Camperdown in the Hampden League, and other sides in the Colac District Competition.

He is also leading the side alongside assistant coach for this season, Jed Christian.

The Swans will lock horns with St Albans this weekend as part of AFL Barwon’s Indigenous Round, seeking their sixth win from six contests.

South Barwon co-captain Olivia Cameron is again a key cog for the Swans in 2024. Photos: MARCEL BERENS/SPORTS MEDIA IMAGES

In doing so, South Barwon would establish themselves as an early frontrunner to make this year’s finals series, barring a collapse in form over the next few months.

Mahoney also confirmed Doyle will suit up against the Supersaints tomorrow afternoon after battling illness in Round 5, forcing her to miss out on her side’s 39-44 win over St Mary’s.

“I’m still learning the major players in the GNL, so I don’t really know too much about St Albans, but the players do a really good job in assisting me to formulate a plan of attack,” Mahoney said.

“We’ll continue to focus on what we can do and what we try to achieve each week.

“We’re taking it one step at a time and hopefully we can bring home the win as well.”

South Barwon can look forward to a three-week break following this week’s meeting with St Albans.

Two consecutive byes has the Swans not playing again until June 8, when they face off with Newtown & Chilwell at home.