Valley Stars face tougher netball task
VALLEY Stars will face increased opposition to their bid to retain their Gladstone Netball Association title when the winter season gets under way at Memorial Park tonight.
The new division one competition, formerly known as A grade, will this year feature six teams ? two more than when the Stars captured last year's honours with a 45-26 victory over Yaralla Dynamic Falcons in the decider.
In addition to the established Stars, Devils White and Falcons, this year's first division premiership will feature newcomers Yaralla Dynamic Owls, Stingers and Yaralla Dynamic Eagles.
The Falcons are also a new lineup of sorts ? the teams consisting of a mix of last year's Falcons and Kestrels outfits.
The Owls, made up entirely of talented 16-year-old players, face a tough initiation when they take on Valley Stars tonight.
The youngsters are sure to experience some first night nerves but face a Stars outfit missing a few members of last year's premiership winning side. However, with the majority of its best players backing up this season, Stars will be tough to beat.
Elsewhere, the Eagles, winners of last year's A/reserve grade competition, will take on the Stingers lineup which consists of experienced players from the Curtis Coast Dolphins Netball Association.
The Eagles boast a strong look on paper with star defender Kym Hetherington expected to lead the way but Stingers also boast plenty of experienced players.
In the remaining first division clash, Devils White meet the new-look Falcons in what is expected to be a tight affair.
There was little between Devils White and either of the Falcons or Kestrels teams last year.
It remains to be seen how the Falcons, complete with a handful of new players this season, combine in their first game together.
The junior division 1 premiership matches are also expected to produce some exciting play.
Devils Black take on Yaralla Dynamic Sparrows, who reached last year's final.
Yaralla Wrens, last year's division two champions, step up to the top grade against Valley Pearls while Devils Gold meet Valleys Emerald.