Sharks embrace unknown challenges and McIntyre returns
SOUTHS Whitsunday Sharks netball team coach Jules Penklis was not shy in admitting she knew little about what the Ruby Series had in store.
New to the region, coaching in a new competition and armed with a new, young, team, Penklis said the Ruby Series was shrouded in "unfamiliarity”.
"I love the unknown; I love that the fact that these players are new, the opposition is new,” she said.
"I like starting with an unknown quantity and seeing what we can produce. It's a challenge on me as a coach and on the players.”
The Sharks will play their first round at Townsville this weekend against the Magnetic North Steelcats and the Cairns Marlins.
A young Sharks nucleus will greatly benefit from the return of Mackay's Sapphire Series player, Zoe McIntyre.
"What she will add to the team framework is a bit of experience,” Penklis said.
"She's been with Sharks for a little while, and now Rays, and with a bit of luck she will offer a settling influence to the younger players.”
Penklis did not hide the fact her team's opposition players have a leg up in experience, but she said her side would build throughout the season.
"I want them to put everything we've been training hard for on court,” she said.
"I'd love two wins, but I really can't compare experience the Steelcats and Marlins have on us at the moment.”
The Northern Ruby Series will not determine a champion via a finals format. Rather the top team on the ladder will be awarded the competition's silverware.
"With the new structure it's first past the post . . . no one in the Northern Ruby Series will go down to Brisbane for finals,” Penklis said.
"We're hoping to change that through improved results.”
Sharks' best asset will be their defencive circle, where most of their experienced players are positioned.
"We have Jemma Carey, Bridget Franettovich, and Shannie Donnelly in there. It will be great to watch,” Penklis said.
McIntyre's goal scoring ability will be a welcome addition.
"I have a lot of variety in the shooting end . . . definitely a fast-moving circle in that end of the court,” the Sharks coach said.