VNL Season Preview: Division One

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The winds of change could be sweeping through the Victorian Netball League’s Division One competition this year.

Or at the very least there’ll be nine teams blowing hard in that direction.

They’ll be plotting the downfall of defending champions and three-time Division One winners Boroondara Genesis, who have a new coach in Allyson Hook and are expected to field a side with a few key changes from the one that dropped just one game in 2013.

Monash University Central will have a point to prove after being bundled out of last year’s finals in straight sets despite finishing the season in second position.

And they won’t have to wait long for revenge. They’ll open their campaign against Yarra Valley Grammar Ariels, who rolled them 40-37 in a shock preliminary final result.

City West Falcons are an unknown quantity, with star goal attack Alice Teague-Neeld now in the club’s Championship team. But with an embarrassment of riches out of last year’s title-winning 19 and Under team, they’ll have no shortage of ready replacements – most likely in Victorian representative Andrea Tai.

Monash University Storm has been busy in more ways than one in the off-season, having finalised a new partnership with the Gippsland region that will provide another pathway for players in Victoria’s east to transition into the state’s elite competition, while also boosting Monash’s playing stocks.

And if DC North East Blaze start the year in the same vein as they finished 2013, they’ll be hopeful of vaulting up the ladder and into finals, having added former Genesis defender Nikki Phillips and VU Western Lightning 19 and Under goaler Shelby Brady to the team that peeled off a trio of wins to round out last season.

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