Jamaican international Shimona Nelson is set to take to the court for the reigning Victorian Netball League premiers, the City West Falcons, next year.
Nelson, who has been plying her trade with the Collingwood Magpies in the Suncorp Super Netball competition the past few seasons, currently doesn’t have a spot for next year.
While players can’t officially sign contracts at this stage, teams have come to agreements with players and Nelson is without a home in Australia’s top competition.
Falcons coach Marg Lind said they wanted to give Nelson the opportunity to enjoy her netball and help her further develop her game.
Lind said there was still a possibility of Nelson getting a contract or training partner role with a Super Netball team, but they were thrilled to welcome her to the club.
“She’s close with Maggie [Lind] from their time at Magpies and Maggie has been really supportive of her,” Lind said.
“She’s not sure what is happening with Super Netball, so we offered her a place to play and keep training and she was in.
“I still think she’ll get a game somewhere.”
The addition of Falcons gives them four strong goaling options. Jane Cook, Uneeq Palavi and Maddie Gray are all returning next season.
Lind said on paper it looked like a dominant shooting circle and would help when Palavi is on national duty with Tonga.
“It’s great for the club,” Lind said. “Everyone is happy to have her [Nelson] on board and she brings a lot to the club and is really supportive of the younger players.
“She wants to develop a bit more in goal attack and have a bit more movement and shooting range instead of being just a post up goaler.”
Lind said Nelson was really happy so far at the Falcons and felt like she could come in and make mistakes and feel like she can develop more.
She said Nelson had been really open with them and had showed a bit of courage with her netball career in limbo.
The addition of Nelson is one of a few changes for the Falcons, with the VNL competition changing to two division instead of three.
Defenders Zoe Davies and Sienna Allen have both departed the club.
Davies has headed to England after picking up a Netball Super League contract, while Allen has moved home to focus a bit more on her career.
Molly Kennedy, who was part of the championship premiership team, hasn’t re-signed at this stage, unsure what her plans are.
Premiership player, Mel Oloamanu, who missed last season with a knee injury, returns to the squad
Sussu Liai joins the club from the Peninsula Waves, while Chelsea Imanisani comes up from division 1.
They have also signed some new faces for the new under-23 team.
The Falcons have lost three players from their division 1 and under-19 teams to the new Bendigo team, while they’ve lost Kiralee Collings to the Western Warriors and Charli Nichol to the Geelong Cougars.
Lind said it was disappointing to lose those players who’ve they’ve put a lot of time into, but she gets players are looking for more opportunities.