Cats celebrate another ripping season

The Wide Bay Thundercats' players and coaches swapped their uniforms and sneakers for cocktail dresses at the Wide Bay Thundercats Presentation and Gala Evening at Hervey Bay Hotel on Saturday night.
The Wide Bay Thundercats' players and coaches swapped their uniforms and sneakers for cocktail dresses at the Wide Bay Thundercats Presentation and Gala Evening at Hervey Bay Hotel on Saturday night. Valerie Horton

WITH or without her, Kerrianne Farrelly is hopeful the Wide Bay Thundercats program will continue to go from strength to strength in 2015.

For weeks Farrelly has told those closest to her that the 2014 Queensland State Netball League season would be her last as coach of the Thundercats.

But during the Thundercats' presentation and gala evening on Saturday night, she refused to officially rule herself out of the coaching job next year.

"If you're asking me the question right now, no I'm not putting my hand up, but we have the off-season and I'm going to make the most of being a mum first," she said.

"I think I have drowned myself in netball this year, but next year is a whole new year, so we'll see what happens.

"It has taken some time to get the Thundercats onto a bit of a pedestal where people in the community appreciate netball and I would hope if I don't come back, whoever does come in keeps it going."

During her two-season stint, Farrelly provided a host of mature-aged players from across the Wide Bay region the opportunity to test their skills against some of the state's finest netballers in a league many of them didn't know existed.

On top of that, she unearthed some exciting young prospects - most notably McKenzie Mott and Taylor Crossley - and delivered the Thundercats their first win since 2010.

While her players let their hair down and hit the dance floor, Farrelly was reflecting on the challenges her group faced during the season.

In some ways, the Thundercats didn't accomplish everything they set out to do, but Farrelly said there was no doubt they improved on last year.

Despite a demanding schedule that involved road trips to Brisbane nearly every weekend, team unity, spirit, leadership and an overwhelming support base helped the team achieve more than some expected.

"We were up against it so much more this year and the players have had such a hard season and even though I pushed and pushed them, they kept giving," Farrelly said.

"We had 16 games as opposed to 10 last year so it was definitely a harder season and because there were so many more challengers, we pushed them hard to work more as a unit to complete those tasks.

"Although we only got one win under our belt, the fact is we deserve to be in the state league."

While she is undecided on her future, Farrelly admitted she has a burning desire to turn the Thundercats into a top-six side.

But she felt a lack of communication between the Thundercats and Wide Bay Netball has held the state league program back.

"We have the regional academy squad with players who are 14 to 17 and have been identified as our up and comers. They need to work closer with the Thundercats so as soon as they hit that 16-year-old mark when they're allowed to play for the Thundercats we can bring them in and start coaching them," she said.

"I would have loved to have those two (Mott and Crossley) in the pre-season.

"I would have done so much more with them and to get them near the end of the season is disappointing and I reckon that's because there's a lack of communication within the Wide Bay.

"It's about the players and about the sport and I don't want to see players flat line in our region because we're not providing them the right roads to go down.

"Our problem is we have all these players playing in squads and some of them should be up here, but we're holding them down because of their age or because we don't have coaches who know how to deal with someone of their calibre and it's quite disappointing.

"Anyone who can be involved in the state league is given an opportunity to be seen by selectors and be able to play the best of the best netball and if you have got any aspirations to go further then this is where you need to be," she said.

Topics:  thundercats netball

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