Hodge set to return to the Kattery

December 02, 2017

Ria Hodge has returned from a stint at the Shepparton Swans to take the reins as playing-coach of Katamatite.

A familiar face is returning to Katamatite to coach its A-grade netball side.

2015 premiership shooter Ria Hodge will be playing-coach of the Tigers next season, taking over from Kate Azzopardi.

And she is hoping she will not be the only former player to return, aiming to enlist some experienced netballers to help blood the emerging talents.

‘‘We’ll have trials late January or early February, we’re trying to recruit some past players from some of our successful years like in 2015, and just develop some young girls,’’ Hodge said.

‘‘There are some young girls that went to other clubs for a year and we’re hoping to get them back and develop them further.’’

Hodge moved from the Picola and District Netball League into the Goulburn Valley League last season, taking the court in the Shepparton Swans B-grade side.

But the chance to coach her junior club was too good to refuse.

‘‘I really enjoyed my time at the Swans, it was awesome for my netball and I loved the people and the club but I was keen to get into the coaching side of things and develop things at Katty,’’ Hodge said.

While this is the first time Hodge will lead an A-grade side as well as be a playing-coach, she has plenty of knowledge to draw on.

Having coached B-grade, under-15s and under-13s along the journey, Hodge has skills to pass down knowledge to the younger Tigers.

She is sure of bringing plenty of enthusiasm to the job with her positive nature.

‘‘I’m very new to it (being playing-coach) and I know that I’ll be learning as I go but I’ve got the skills to execute it and as I go I’ll be learning about my players and the way they play individually and how to develop them,’’ Hodge said.

Cassia Colbeck was Katamatite’s playing-coach when the side enjoyed its drought-breaking grand final win against Dookie United 2015.

At the end of last year Colbeck returned to the Swans where she had been a B-grade premiership player, leaving Azzopardi to take up the role.

Hodge has plans to lift the Tigers from the bottom of the table, after the side only won three games this season while remaining a competitive outfit.

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