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SOUTH Mildura A Grade netball best and fairest Maddy Toms knows the side is in transition, but is excited for the future.

The captain, who turns 25 on Thursday, was handed the 2021 award over the weekend, with former South junior and returning player Mikaela Saunders the runner-up.

The mid-court star was one of only three players from the 2019 A Grade side still playing by the of the of the cancelled 2021 season.

Toms hopes more talented juniors coming through the ranks will put their hand up to play at the top level next year.

“It was a bit of a rebuilding year for us, I think from the last season we played there was only Demelza Henry, Georgia Chase and myself still part of the team, it was new look line up,” she said. “My sister Rhianna also got injured early in the season.

“Hopefully a few more girls will put their hands up to play A Grade next season, I’m not sure if we’ve got many recruits as yet, but we’ll work with the players we have on board.

“It was great to see a few girls play A Grade whose families have been part of the club for a while.

“Next year there will already be a few changes with Demelza retiring and Loretta Thompson taking a step back from coach. She’ll still be around with her daughters playing but it’s obviously sad we won’t have her on the bench with us.”

Toms, who represented Sunraysia in interleague netball in May against North Central, said the club was excited about the move to their new home at the Mildura Sporting Precinct in 2022.

“I don’t think the netball courts are finished yet but hopefully they will be for next year, it’s something we’re all really excited about,” she said.

“We’ll have a few functions during the summer there which will be good, and I know the footballers have been training there already.”

While it was a different A Grade side in 2021, Toms said some of the new additions have already made themselves at home.

“Brianna Scullino really stepped up this year after having mostly played B Grade, the Telfer girls, Lara and Sarah, were really important and Aimee Ryan as one of our new recruits slotted in well,” she said.

“It was great to have Mikayla Saudners come back to the club, and Morna Naquto who was part of our Under-17s has a really bright future.

“We’re still building that team dynamic but we’re excited about a new season.”

Story and photo courtesy of Sunraysia Daily

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