Sport

Swans ready to fly in debut match

By Tyler Maher

It will go down as one of the most unique lead-ups to a team debut in history when the Shepparton Swans run out onto John Gray Oval at Mooroopna on Sunday.

The Swans first announced their new youth girls squad in the Shepparton District Junior Football League late last year, and have been building towards their maiden match since.

With the COVID-19 pandemic pushing the start of the season back, the Swans have been waiting in anticipation for months to take part in what will be — for many of the list — their first competitive game of football.

“Just not knowing what was going on was the hardest part,” Swans player Erin Brooks said.

“Everyone is really excited to get going, the nerves are really high as well because lots of the girls haven't played before, so we're not sure what to expect.”

Brooks, 15, will have the ruck duties against Mooroopna on Sunday and has been buoyed by the support the rest of the club has thrown behind the new addition to the ranks.

“Everyone has gotten behind us, mostly through social media, the club's been really supportive,” she said.

“I think it's been a really good experience so far and we're looking forward to getting out there.”

Coach Gary Gerada is excited that his charges are finally able to debut in the Swans jumper.

“We're proud of the girls, most of them have never played football before,” he said.

“They've been training really hard twice a week and under pretty weird circumstances with COVID-19 and everything that has been going on.

“We're very happy to be finally getting out there, to run out on Sunday will be a big thrill for the girls.”

And this weekend's match will be a launching pad for the group, which will look to build on its skills across multiple seasons.

“We're giving the girls another option than just netball,” Gerada said.

“We're always happy to have more numbers, but we have 24 or 25 at the moment which is really good.

“They'll just get stronger and stronger too because all of the girls are eligible for another two years.

“We're really happy that the club has given us the opportunity.”

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