THE Latrobe Valley Netball Region were very competitive at the recent Netball Victoria State Titles competition held in Bendigo over the Labour Day long weekend.

Teams from all across Victoria come to compete in the 15 and Under Female, 17 and Under Female and Male, Open Female and Mixed All Abilities competitions.

The Latrobe Valley team has built itself back up and showcased the regions talent with three female teams in the Under 15’s, Under 17’s and Open division.

The Open Team finished the standard draw on top of the Ladder losing only one game.

The Latrobe Valley team started guns blazing beating Glenelg 18-4 in the games two short halves.

Continuing the momentum Latrobe Valley beat the usually strong Elmer, 14-10, then Dandenong 16-11, also beating Barwon by four goals, North East by two and Jika by six all on the same day.

Come Sunday, The Latrobe Valley team faced their first loss against Tow Bays going down 15 goals to 13. Despite the narrow loss, the Latrobe Valley team grounded themselves to beat North Central and then the second-best team and finalist contenders, Henderson.

With talented and experienced netballers like Yinnar’s Skye McDonald and Churchill’s Rachel Loechel alongside the shooting ferocity of Nilma-Darnum’s Hayley Purcell, the Latrobe Valley team really showed the metro clubs some fight.

Depite dominating the open fixture for the tournament, when it came to the first final against Elmer’s Open side the Latrobe Valley Women couldn’t get the job done, losing 16 to 11.

It may come as consolation to the team that Elmer went on to win the tournament, beating Henderson in the Grand Final.

Coach Katrina Hutchinson was incredibly happy with the results, finishing among the top four in the state.

Latrobe Valley’s State Titles Officer, Tamara Kennedy said she was incredibly proud of the regions talent.

“It has been a busy and exciting 2023-24 State Titles Campaign. We are just over halfway into a five-year plan and are already exceeding expectations. Our players and coaching staff have demonstrated that they can match it with some of the best netballers in Victoria,” she said.

“Results are always improving as our players coaches and administration staff learn more every year. The job won’t be done until we can consistently demonstrate we are a region to be reckoned with. That means not just winning but making finals and winning over a number of years.”

“Latrobe has always had talent and we have a lot of raw talent, it’s just a matter of being to harness that talent and give players and coaches an opportunity for consistent high quality netball pushing them to their limits.”

The Under 17s coach Alesha Hallinan started incredibly strong, surprising the competition.

Finishing the fixture at third spot on the ladder, the Latrobe Valley young athletes were on fire winning 12 games and drawing one, out of their 17 matches across three days.

Day 1 was no doubt a strong start for the Under 17s.

Starting with a draw didn’t deter the team going onto win the next five games in a row.

The Under 17s remained fiercely competitive all tournament long making it to the finals. Unfortunately it was just not meant to be, as the team went down to Central Highlands 20 to 12.

Nevertheless, coach Hallinan was proud of her young team, saying she felt each and every player brought their best to the State Titles.

Netball Victoria’s Eastern Region Manager said it was clear that this region can produce the very best of netball.

“Seeing the quality of netball across the weekend made me extremely proud of our Eastern Zone which had two regions competing,” she said.

“The Gippsland region showed great promise and with Latrobe Valley Region having two of three teams in finals, it showed the level of talent not only on the court but off the court as well with the coaching expertise that was on display and the work that the State Titles Officers do behind the scenes to get these teams on court.”

The Latrobe Valley Under 15s came up against some very tough competition – though they did not make finals they showed some very promising signs.

Coach Sammy Walters is confident the Under 15s will be the future of this region’s netball.

Familiar faces: The Latrobe Valley Open Female team.