RED Cliffs Football Netball Club has welcomed one of their former junior netballers home, but this time it’s as coach of their A Grade side.
Stephanie O’Loughlin played all of her netball as a junior at the club, and managed to take to the court for a few games of seniors.
A talented basketballer as well, O’Loughlin decided to follow that pathway and went on to play for the Heat women at a local representative level, as well as for several state sides.
“Upon my return to Sunraysia following university I played at Irymple Football Netball Club,” O’Loughlin said.
“I played there for six seasons including playing in the premiership team of 2017.
“In 2019 I was in Sunraysia Football Netball League Team of the Year as GS also scoring the most goals that year.”
While O’Loughlin’s coaching experience is mainly on the basketball court, she did fill in at Irymple last season, and the team came away with the win.
Her return to Red Cliffs comes after the Tigers pursued her for some time.
“Red Cliffs have approached me for about the last five seasons trying to get me to play,” she said.
“However, I felt the timing wasn’t right.”
With O’Loughlin’s twins Flynn and Rhya beginning kinder at Red Cliffs, which will eventually lead to school there, she said she felt it was time she made the move and get back involved with the club re-commencing what she hopes will become a long running connection with their family.
To the Tigers, O’Loughlin said she is hoping to bring some experience and more senior players to the club to aid in guiding the juniors that have been playing the last few seasons.
“I am hoping to not only give them some instant success with a few wins this season after an eight year drought, but also for the long term development of the juniors and give them a firm base on which to build upon,” O’Loughlin said.
“I’m excited and the club is excited for the season ahead.
“We have had a good preseason and preparation and we are eager to get on the court and see what we can produce.”
With the Tigers winning their preseason clash against the Swallows at Kenny Park, Merbein, on the weekend, O’Loughlin said she hoped it would give the side both belief and confidence in what they are capable of.
“Our aim this season is to not only be competitive but get a few wins,” she added.
“I think a successful first season would be to win a hand full of games and cement some foundations for the years to come.”