New system for champs

Ipswich netball has graded it's u16s, u19s and open netball teams. U16s Georgia Spark and Kate Spain-Mostina, u19s Emily O'Connor and Melissa Pedley and flyers players Tara Bramwell and Stephanie Lee. Photo: Sarah Harvey / The Queensland Times
Ipswich netball has graded it's u16s, u19s and open netball teams. U16s Georgia Spark and Kate Spain-Mostina, u19s Emily O'Connor and Melissa Pedley and flyers players Tara Bramwell and Stephanie Lee. Photo: Sarah Harvey / The Queensland Times Sarah Harvey

THE Ipswich Flyers are set to begin their title defence but have taken a different approach this season to the past two.

Rather than push themselves to peak fitness in the pre-season, the defending Mount Franklin Challenge tier three champions have decided to conserve their energy with a later start to training this year.

It may seem a risky strategy to mess with a winning formula.

But the Flyers believe it will better enable them to make it through the arduous season.

"We've had a good off-season," shooter Liz Hales said.

"We're starting later because the season is so long and girls were getting injured, so we'd lose momentum.

"We all keep quite fit anyway.

"So we decided to wait that little bit longer.

"The goal is to be injury-free that bit longer."

It is a similar looking Flyers squad to last season, with one new face.

Shooter Kirsty Brennan (pictured right) has joined the squad, which will be without defender Lauren Nieuwenberg and centre Sarah Cassin from last year.

Nieuwenberg, who has been a rock in defence for the Flyers, has been picked up by tier two club Logan Wildcats.

Cassin is planning to travel later in the year.

The Flyers are already blessed with high quality shooters in captain Emilie McInally, vice-captain Brook Dixon and Hales.

But the elevation of the 17-year-old Rebels club player Brennan is more about promoting a promising young player who deserves an opportunity, than strategically strengthening squad positions.

"It's about bringing young girls up," Hales said.

"Kirsty showed amazing form for her club last season."

The loss of Nieuwenberg and Cassin means there is still one vacant spot in the 10-woman squad and the Flyers are looking out for a suitable defender to fill the hole.

In the meantime, it appears likely the team's Miss Versatile Tara Bramwell will accompany Tahlia Vandenberg in defence.

Getting an opinion of the matter from Bramwell, however, is almost as tough as getting a pass past her long reach.

"I just play where they tell me to," Bramwell said.

Given they have won the past two titles, there is no doubt about the Flyers' goal this season.

"Three in a row," Hales said.

"That's the plan."

The competition begins on March 21.

Topics:  ipswich flyers netball

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