9 April, 2024

Harrow Balmoral 2024 Season Preview

A look at Harrow Balmoral's 2024 season in both football and netball and a message from President Tereasa Hobbs.

By Chris Graetz

Nick Pekin is going to be playing more up forward and is set to be more dangerous this season.
Nick Pekin is going to be playing more up forward and is set to be more dangerous this season.

The big question on everyone's minds is after a dominant display last year, will Harrow Balmoral fall back to the pack or continue their dominance under coach Jai Thompson.

The Southern Roos dominated the competition last year. They averaged 147 points across their 18 games which included posting triple figures in 16 of their 18 games with massive scores of 219 and 203. Their average winning margin was 112 points.

This year, they are missing Simon Close due to an ACL injury he suffered in the Grand Final win over Jeparit Rainbow Storm. He had his operation in December so he won't be playing this year and it has left a massive hole in their forward line as he topped the league with 84 goals in 2023. James Staude, who kicked 46 goals has retired.

Their other two top goal-kickers from last year are sticking around. Nick Pekin kicked 51 goals last year and coach Jai Thompson kicked 43.

They have two former premiership players coming back to the club to boost their midfield in Cody Deutscher and Scott Addinsall.

Addinsall played for Cavendish last year whilst Deutscher had a two-year stint as an assistant coach with Coleraine in which he won a premiership.

Thompson is excited about what the returning players can bring and is hopeful they can help cover the losses of Close and Staude.

"Nick Pekin will probably play a lot up forward and we have a talent in Cody Deutscher who is an on-ball talent and someone we can send forward and I can play forward," Thompson said.

"There are other young kids that are coming through that could play a role up forward including Maddox Blake and Alex Rees.

"Whilst they don't have the height, they have good leading patterns and have been solid on the track."

Last year the game plan featured longer kicking to the forwards but this season, it will be tweaked to involve shorter kicking.

"As we are a bit smaller we will do a bit more run and carry, which will involve shorter kicking to get the ball over the top to our forwards who display speed and agility," Thompson said.

When asked who is going to take the next step, Thompson mentioned Will Burbury as well as a couple of under-17 players from last year who at times tasted senior football.

"Will has been awesome and he was a good talent last year and over the pre-season, he has added another string to his bow by focusing on kicking and driving through the midfield which will be important," Thompson said.

"George Austin and Rhys Daffey have both looked awesome during the pre-season. Then we have Josh Grant off half-back who showed a bit last year and is looking good.

"We know what we can get out of the senior players so it is exciting to see what we could get out of these kids with their drive, run power, speed and different gameplay."

Jeremy Watt is coaching the reserves and Thompson said there is a lot of competition for spots and he has done a fantastic job.

"Watt has been great with the guys and has done a fantastic job. A lot of guys are pushing for senior spots," Thompson said.

"We had 10 players come up from the under 17s and they all can't play seniors so they will be putting pressure on people.

"With the youth being able to uplift the reserves, we should see a lot of pressure put on the senior list which is healthy as a football club."

When asked who the main challengers will be this year, Thompson pointed out both Noradjuha Quantong and Stawell Swifts.

The Southern Roos start their premiership defence against another premiership hopeful, Noradjuha Quantong.


After finishing second last in 2023 with two wins, new coach Emily Langley believes they can improve enough to play finals in 2024.

Langely is no stranger to Harrow Balmoral after playing her juniors at the club and being a multiple premiership player before leaving in 2016.

In what is her first senior coaching gig, Langley has a good young team at her disposal and coupled with some good recruits, can easily improve on last year.

Sarah Edwards is joining the club after teaching in Murtoa as well as Sophie Antonello from Minyip Murtoa. Tori Dunstan has come home from school in Adelaide, Lily Cameron has signed up and Megan Little is returning to the club after giving birth to a daughter, Tess.

Little has played in several grand finals for Harrow Balmoral from juniors through to seniors as well as winning several best and fairest awards and being named in the Harrow Balmoral Football Netball Club team of the decade.

Langley is excited about what these recruits can bring.

"Megan has a wealth of knowledge and can play any position and she is formidable to play with and to play against. She has stepped into our leadership team and is our 'golden girl'", Langley said.

"Lily Cameron hasn't played for a few years but is six-foot-two and can play either end of the court and is willing to learn."

Alongside these new players and returning players from last year, there is an abundance of youth led by Tara McIntyre.

"Tara McIntyre plays in the goal line and she is a league representative and has a lot more development in her and is looking good," Langley said.

"We also have Mia Rees, Rory Mason and Heidi Robinson who are all coming up from 15s and 17s and showing huge potential and a desire to learn which is a coach's dream."

Langley knows a lot needs to go right but has sights set on finals.

"I believe the finals are on the horizon. The team we have has come in leaps and bounds and we are looking good across our senior grades," Langley concluded.


Harrow Balmoral president Tereasa Hobbs is in her third year now and the club couldn't be in a better place.

Off the field, they have recently got new netball courts at Harrow Recreation Reserve following new buildings at both Harrow and Balmoral Recreation Reserves. They are also close to securing a light tower upgrade at Harrow.

"We have been very fortunate in the last two years to get facilities upgraded, especially being a little country district league club," Hobbs said.

"We are also fortunate to have two good recreation reserves that are prepared well."

On the field, the club has an abundance of youth through both football and netball. In football, ten under-17 footballers have stayed with the club and will move into the senior ranks.

In netball, the under 13s are a bit light on but all other junior grades have good numbers and Hobbs said everyone is excited about the season ahead.

"We have great coaches that are prepared to play the youth and turn them into our future senior football and netballers," Hobbs said.

"We are fortunate we have some good youth here so our focus has been on our locals with the juniors coming up rather than focusing on a big recruitment spree.

"Everyone is just excited about what we can accomplish this year on the field and court."


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