Champs to aim higher
JUST DAYS away from the start of a new season, the Ipswich Flyers appear to be motoring along in cruise control.
The Flyers won the state tier three competition, then known as the Schweppes Challenge, last season and only appear to have strengthened since then.
"They're training well," coach Tricia McInally said.
"Only a couple more sessions before we start. We're really looking forward to it."
It should come as no surprise.
The three personnel changes to last year's squad are all former players returning.
"Probably experience," McInally said when asked what the biggest thing Liz Hales, Steph Lee and Talitha Groth brought to the squad.
"It is probably a better team than last year."
It may need to be with McInally hearing that other clubs will be stronger as well, starting with Redlands at the State Netball Centre, Mt Gravatt, on Thursday night.
"I think it should be tougher," she said.
"I've heard a lot of tier one (Holden Cruze Cup) and tier two (State League) players have dropped back down to tier three.
"They just want to play and don't want so much commitment."
Much as Flyers vice-captain Brooke Dixon did last season, only to find out the Flyers training was every bit as intense as she'd been used to with East Brisbane in tier two.
The Flyers' dominance in 2011 was built on their superior fitness to most rivals.
That, and the coach's willingness to experiment with different combinations throughout the season.
"In the first round (in which every team plays every other once) we really just want to see how we're travelling," McInally said. "For the whole first round, you're still finding your way.
"It's only in the second round you want to know what the other teams are like and who to put on each game."
If there is one area McInally voiced some concern over, though admittedly not a great deal, it was with her shooters.
Given they include captain Emilie McInally, vice-captain Dixon, returned veteran Hales and back-up utility Sarah Jackson, it comes as some surprise.
"Probably the most concern is our shooting," Tricia McInally said.
"Obviously we can't win if we don't get enough shots in.
"I won't know how they're going until they get out there.
"They've been practising I hope. You can't afford to go out and shoot 50 percent. You need high 80s."
They managed it last year and the return of Hales, in particular, should ensure no-one is taking anything for granted in 2012.
Goodna begins its Mount Franklin Challenge Division Two campaign on Thursday night against Western Districts.
The Ipswich Flyers begin their Mount Franklin (formerly Schweppes) Challenge title defence against Redlands on Thursday night (9.30pm) at the State Netball Centre.