Why umpire coach keen to help Norths rebuild
HOCKEY: As an experienced umpires coach, Leonie Young enjoys working with promising young players.
She's been doing some terrific work "behind the scenes'' in recent seasons, assisting Ipswich's international umpire Steve Rogers as a co-development co-ordinator.
However, while reassessing her higher level umpiring opportunities, Young is keen to extend her coaching to the Norths A-Grade women's side this season.
"I had a few girls ask me last year to put my hand up and I decided why not?'' she said.
"I have a good relationship with the girls, enjoy coaching and it's a way to give back to the club.''
Young had previously coached the E-Grade girls and A Grade women over the past nine years, along with several representative sides from under-11 to open.
Preparing for her team's season-opening game against Swifts on Sunday afternoon, Young said Norths had lost eight players from their A and Reserve Grade sides due to injuries, work and travel commitments.
"This has potentially allowed some of the Reserve graders to cement a spot in A Grade for the beginning of the season - which is a good reward for their end of last season work and off season work,'' Young said.
However, one of the key gains is Crystal Brown returning this season, enhancing the Norths forward line with her strike power.
Tayla Young is also coming back into the A Grade side as goalkeeper.
"She can bring a lot to the defence of our team,'' Young said.
The new Norths coach was yet to confirm her captain but will include experienced player Sarah Parlett in the leadership team.
As for whether she'll play this season, Young was cautious.
"I'm going to see how the body holds up and play Reserve Grade this year,'' she said.
"We have some really talented younger players coming through and have also joined forces in Reserve Grade with Bellbowrie who also have some very good talent coming through.
"I really enjoy working alongside those players, and am looking forward with working with Morgan Leeder as coach as well - giving them a mentor and assisting them grow into better players.''
She has firm expectations for the Devils in 2020.
"Bring back the respect of the game with the girls, getting them to trust their individual skills and bring what they can to the team,'' she said.
"Everyone brings something unique and we need to respect each other enough for that to link.
"Focus this year will be to score more goals. We show every year that we can scramble in defence but struggle to finish off games with scoring.
"I will be moving some players into different positions to start the year and see how it goes.''
Jan Walker is managing the Norths A-Grade women's side this season.