Former Joeys coach returns to Herne Hill
ST JOSEPH’S Football Netball Club has locked in a new A Grade coach for next season, along with a raft of re-signings to officially begin its off-season preparations.
Joeys’ netball program announced last week former Geelong Amateur premiership coach Riley Richardson will return to the Geelong Netball League for the first time in seven years to take up the role of A Grade head coach.
Richardson, who took time away from grassroots coaching in 2023 due to study commitments, will take over Kirsten Hood’s role at Herne Hill Reserve as St Joseph’s looks to return to the GNL Finals in back-to-back years.
“I followed both the Bellarine and Geelong competitions keenly due to my assistant coaching role at Geelong Cougars,” Richardson said.
“I have a lot of friends in the area as well and it got to finals time around September and I really started to miss coaching, in particular I was following Ammos a lot, but I did coach previously at St Joseph’s in 2017 so I always keep an eye on them.
“It got to the end of the year, and I noticed I really missed the club environment, so after Mel Savage extended her role at Ammos for another year, I thought I’d have a look into a potential role at Joeys.”
The announcement came before St Joseph’s announced a trio of major signings, securing 2024 commitments from league best and fairest winner Emma Buwalda, captain and Team of the Year defender Tori Honner, Team of the Year midcourter Elli Leydin and Geelong Cougar squad member Emily Kingston.
Joeys returned to the GNL Finals last season and earned a double chance with 12 wins from 16 games, but bowed out in straight sets after losses to Newtown & Chilwell and South Barwon.
Richardson said the club’s mindset on recruiting ahead of 2024 would be to retain the talent already at the club’s disposal.
“Once we establish what our current 2023 players are doing for next season, then we’ll look elsewhere if we need to top up.
“This current St Joseph’s group is in a really wonderful position, they’re serial finalists often finishing between third and fifth for as long as I can remember.
“They’ve got a young and fit list, and a really great philosophy about working together.
“I’m hopeful I can bring a little in-game experience to potentially push us up further into the finals series.”