Ararat Eagles receive A Grade exemption ahead of their first game

The Ararat Eagles Football Netball Club has successfully obtained an exemption for A Grade netball, following a struggle to find players.

Senior Netball Coach Melissa Murnane told AC News last week that the Club would look to ask for an exemption so they could fill B and C Grade teams.

The club was notified yesterday of their successful request after applying for the exemption four weeks ago.

Club members attended a registration meeting last Wednesday at Alexandra Oval.
PHOTO: Aimee Harrison

“We found ourselves in a position this season where all of our A Graders from last season were unavailable to play and we had no one to fill their positions at an A Grade standard,” Murnane said.

The request proved to be quite controversial as a number of people were of the opinion that the Eagles’ B Grade side – who won the Premiership last year – could step up to A Grade in the 2019 season, Murnane explained.

“We felt it was an unreasonable view. We too have lost four of our Premiership players, with the remaining four from last year’s Grand Final ranging from 37 to 49 years old.”

“Our best netball has definitely passed us by. The assumption that we could just play A Grade at this stage of our lives was very stressful and also unrealistic from our point of view, given our ages and injury management.”

The request for exemption was put to all clubs, with the Eagles needing an 80% approval rate. Murnane was told that it was “very close”.

Senior Coach Melissa Murnane during the 2018 season.
PHOTO: Kaye Bulger

“Thankfully the request was successful. We will now move forward with consistent B and C Grade teams of which we can hopefully develop and grow into three full senior sides for next season,” Murnane said.

“We are fielding all three junior sides – which is very positive. Hopefully we can develop the juniors into strong senior players in the years to come.”

“I am very thankful to the Mininera and District Netball Association for granting our exemption as it gives us an opportunity to rebuild and unite.”

“The end goal is to develop our players throughout this season to become a strong netball club for years to come.”

The 2019 Mininera and District season begins this weekend with the Ararat Eagles competing against Hawksdale MacArthur on Saturday.

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