Warriors taking shape

Kim Borger has joined the Western Warriors. (Robabb Photography)

A former Melbourne Vixen and a past Victorian Netball League best and fairest winner headline the Western Warriors inaugural squad.

More than 100 people turned up for the Warriors trials for their championship and under-23 sides, a number that exceeded all expectations.

Warriors coach Kim Bailey said they had been thrilled with the response for the team that will be based in Melton.

“We had large numbers,” Bailey said. “We had 100 players and we were able to put together two really good sides and put together two development sides.

“We knew we had interest but we didn’t realise that much interest. We’re in the middle of a growth area and there were lots of local girls, football-netball girls from the district.

“It gives them another alternative in the inner west. We go right up to Ballarat and even further.”

Bailey said the championship side had a real mix of experience and youth.

Former Melbourne Vixen Kim Borger, who has been named the Warriors under-23 coach, will play in the championship side.

She will be joined in the shooting circle by Julia Woolley and Akira McCormack.

Woolley has previously won the VNL championship most valuable player award at the Geelong Cougars, also previously played with the City West Falcons.

McCormack, who has been playing with Melton South in the Ballarat Netball League, was named best on court in last season’s VNL under-19 grand final while playing for Melbourne University.

Simona Di Filippo, who won the BNL best and fairest award last season while playing for the Sunbury Lions, will be a key in the midcourt.

Riddell midcourter Ruby Shannon, who is in the Australian under-19 squad, is another player for the Warriors midcourt, along with Olivia Ellis, who joins the club from North East Blaze.

Another Sunbury Lion Elly Randell is part of the team, while Georgia Hellyer is a training partner.

Jasmine Fraser is another to join the club and will be a key in the defence end.

Ella Ogier, who comes from a basketball background is part of the squad, while Georgia Berry, who used to play for the Ballarat Sovereigns round out the list.

“It’s a good mix of experience and youth,” Bailey said. “For some of those girls to have the chance to be on the same team as Kim and Julia is amazing what they can learn from them.”

Bailey said they were excited by the under-23 team as well, with many of the girls from the local areas.

Sunbury Lions’ Tara O’Grady and Eliza Gollant, Gisborne’s Kiralee Collings and Darley’s Ella Closter are among the team.

Bailey said she had seen a lot of improvement in the group in their five weeks of training so far and they were looking forward to do more court structures after the Christmas break.

The Warriors will kick off their season against the Peninsula Waves on March 6.

They will play their first home game in Melton on April 28.

Tara Murray