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2022 Season Wrap-up: Captains and Vice-captains Perspective

2022 Season Wrap-up: Captains and Vice-captains Perspective

Looking back at the 2022 season for our South Coast Blaze franchise, we had an extremely successful year, arguably the best to date.

Everyone from the coaches and supporting staff to the athletes put in a tremendous effort, which was reflected when both the Under 23’s and Opens teams made the finals. Despite most athletes only playing together for less than three years, both teams displayed high levels of athleticism and professionalism, growing alongside each other to work towards that all important win each week.

As we go back and reflect on the year that was, we hear from our captains and vice captains, and remember our first home game at Illawarra Sports Stadium.

Our first home game sold out within days and was a giant success. With such incredible support from our local community and inspiring athletes playing on our home turf, it’s hard to see why anyone wouldn’t want to get behind #OurBlaze. Our U23s and Opens captains said it was a day to remember. Opens Co-Captain Katelyn Anderson loved the home game atmosphere. “It was an incredible experience and a great day for the club. The atmosphere was amazing and definitely helped both teams get the results they did,” Katelyn said.

Article by:
Talia Shepherd

Clusterpix Photography

Clare McCrohon, U23's Captain Round 9 Home Game Illawarra Sports Stadium
Clare McCrohon, U23's Captain, in action during the Round 9 Home Game at Illawarra Sports Stadium

Our U23s Captain Clare McCrohon was also inspired by the crowd. “It was definitely a highlight for the season – not only playing on our home court, but to have a packed-out stadium with all our friends, family and supporters,” Clare said. “The atmosphere was loud and intense, and we felt all the support in the stadium that night! It was a much-needed home game for our girls, and the atmosphere of the venue was something our girls hadn’t experienced up until now”.

Moments like these are something all athletes, coaches and staff are looking forward to experiencing more of in the future.

A year of firsts also saw our Opens team make their first finals series in the Blaze’s three-year history. It was a significant accomplishment for such a newly established team and their efforts didn’t go unnoticed. With many wins and learning opportunities, the team fought hard to earn their place in their finals, guided by Head Coach Marji Parr.

Katelyn knew the Opens team was going to make finals pretty early on. “I knew we had something special. From the end of the rounds into the split conference, I knew we would make finals and have the potential to show the comp how far we’d come,” she said.  It’s this passion, encouragement, belief and confidence that takes #OurBlaze girls far. In the end it was not the result we had hoped for, but they fought hard and never gave up, despite injuries and other setbacks. We can’t wait to see how next season holds up for our Opens and their potential.

Katelyn Anderson, Blaze Opens 2022 captain in action during round 10: South Coast Blaze v The Capital Spirit
Katelyn Anderson, Blaze Opens 2022 captain in action during round 10: South Coast Blaze v The Capital Spirit
U23s Vice Captain Jess Bowden gives it everything hard in defence
U23s Vice Captain Jess Bowden gives it everything in defence

It was the second time in the franchise’s history that our U23’s got to see the finals stage. Clare said every point mattered throughout the season. “We knew every point mattered as the U23’s competition was tight across the board. It wasn’t until we secured that last win that it felt real,” she said.

Other players were also happy to share their learning experiences this year and what they took from the season. U23s Vice Captain Jess Bowden said she built on her resilience in 2022. “Having a resilient attitude and accepting defeat makes you a greater player,” Jess said.

We couldn’t agree more! Despite all the ups and downs of a season, it’s always important to maintain a positive attitude to help yourself grow.

Under 23s Vice Captain Bronnee Loy summed up the amazing year our athletes and support system had when she shared her highlights of 2022.

This year was special to me, having the intentions of playing my final year in 23’s, and I knew with team and coaches we had it was going to be exciting,” Bronnee said.  “Getting the opportunity to Co-Vice-Captain with Jess, one of my best friends, and work alongside Clare who is a great teammate and even more inspirational captain. I felt this season was the season of earning the title and being one of the strongest teams in the comp, and it was such a privilege to be a part of it all.

Bronnee Loy, Blaze U23s Vice Captain in action during round 7
Bronnee Loy, Blaze U23s Vice Captain in action during round 7

Despite no titles, we couldn’t have asked for a better outcome this year – our teams learnt so much both on and off the court. There were so many opportunities for our players, and we extend a big congratulations to those who also got selected to play In representative carnivals throughout the year. The South Coast Blaze as a whole are so inspired by everyone’s efforts this year, and we cant wait to see what next season holds.

Written by Talia Shepherd