Is this the year someone will finally knock City West Falcons off their perch in the Victorian Netball League’s 19 and Under division?
Five titles in five years tells you everything you need to know about Falcons’ stranglehold on VNL’s under-age competition.
And with a parade of state players again sure to grace the court in red, it’s hard to believe they’ll be anything other than raging favourites to seal a sixth trophy in 2014.
The team they defeated in last year’s grand final, Yarra Valley Grammar Ariels, will be hoping their mix of experience and new blood will help them reach the same heights as in 2013, though they’ll have to do it without the on-court experience of captain Mia Fallon, who suffered a season-ending knee injury during pre-season training.
VU Western Lightning should be an improved outfit, with a line-up boasting Victorian 17 and Under players Carly Harrison, Kailah-Mae Keepen and Mardi Cunningham.
Geelong Cougars surprised plenty with their performance last year, sinking 162 goals more than any other team in the competition on their way to a fourth-place finish, but how they’ll handle the potential elevation of tall shooter Ruby Horton to the club’s open-age teams remains to be seen.
Monash University Storm are used to playing finals, so expect changes from the side that failed to register a win in its final eight games of the 2013 season.
Don’t discount any team however, with age and the lure of positions in Division 1 and Championship almost inevitably taking a toll on the teams at the pointy end last year’s table.