9 April, 2024

Laharum 2024 Season Preview

A look at Laharum's 2024 season in both football and netball and a message from President Hamish Roberts.

By Chris Graetz

Laharum 2024 Season Preview - feature photo

After going winless in 2023, Laharum footballers are confident of having a better season after bringing in joint coaches, Shannon Argall and Robbie Miller.

Argall coached alongside Hamish Roberts in their 2015 premiership side and was an assistant coach in their 2013 win.

Miller has been a premiership player and coached Laharum in 2019 before resigning during the season, and he is excited to be at the club again.

When asked what he learned following his first year of coaching, he said he has learned a lot.

"I have learned what it takes to be successful and what work goes on behind the scenes," Miller said.

"Even though it's country football, I have learned the professionlism you need. You still need to cross the t's and dot the i's and go above and beyond and hopefully, that is what Shannon and I can do this season."

Laharum has retained most their playing group from last year and has recruited smartly for the long term, getting people back to the club that has connections to Laharum.
Daniel Easson and Pat Laffy are the big names to return to the club following a stint in the VAFA.

Easson is a midfielder and Laffy will be important in the backline as he is versatile being able to play big or small.

Also returning are past players Harry Miller and Ambrose Launder and recruits Reuben Elliott (Horsham), Angus Atchison (Taylors Lake) and Brayden Doyle

Riley Lenehan, Riley Cross and Tom Dunn are returning from injuries and will look to bounce back.

Miller said they would all bring something to the team.

"We looked at the list and decided we needed to bring in people we see as long-term recruits and not short-term, so that's why we looked to people with past connections to the club," Miller said.

"As a team, you are always looking for success. It's nice to have a resilient group that wants to improve. That's the foundation we are working from.

"We are confident we can improve and take big steps this season."

When asked who Miller thinks will take the next step in their footballing career, he mentioned three players.

"There are quite a few that I think will take the next step, but Riley Cross as a key position player up forward will be one of them," Miller said.

"Ryan Thomas was great last year and he will be playing on the big boys down back and he has been looking good.

"Reuben Launder through the middle is also looking good, so we are excited about what these players will do."

Miller said they aim to be a bit more daring this year.

"We want to take the game on and not be predictable," he said.

"We want to use our skills to hit targets, switch play, and have great forward entry so we can give our forwards the best opportunity.

"We are brimming with confidence at Laharum this year and we are looking forward to seeing what the club can produce as a whole."

Laharum travel to Pimpinio for round one.


Following grand final losses in 2022 and 2023, Laharum enters the 2024 season with a lot of motivation to secure their second premiership.

Coached by playing coach Rebecca McIntyre, the team features Caitlin Story and Olivia Jones-Story, Emalie and Maddison Iredell as well as Melanie Russell.

The only player who isn't returning from last year's team that was runner-up to Edenhope Apsley is Courtney Taylor who has moved to New Zealand.

Keely Elliott, who played some senior netball last season has moved into the team full time.

When you look to build not only a premiership team but also a dynasty, look at Laharum. Laharum has had a successful journey which began in 2017/2018 when McIntyre moved to the club.

Laharum has been one of the dominant sides since then. In 2018 they made the grand final and in 2019 the club won their first netball A grade premiership.

Covid hit in 2020 and in 2021 they were undefeated before Covid caused the season to be cancelled and in 2022, they had a narrow loss by two goals followed by a 10-point loss last year.

McIntyre said you need to plan to win a premiership.

"When I came across I said to Caitlin it's a 2-5 year plan to win a premiership," McIntyre said.

"You have to keep your team together, build foundations and experience and keep people still wanting to be part of the dream when you don't have success and that is what we have managed to do over the last eight years.

McIntyre said everyone is motivated to take the extra step this season.

"I said to the girls let's all stick together and have another crack this year and with Caitlin and Olivia living in Ballarat they are keen to play and see what we can accomplish," McIntyre said.

"The number one thing is that we are friends and family first and foremost and do a lot of things off the court together, both in basketball and netball. We are a tight knit group of people and when you have that connection you want to stick together.

"We know that if we play consistent netball, we should be there at the end of the season to give it a crack. That's what we are aiming for."

McIntyre will also be coaching the B Grade this season and said she is also focused on developing the juniors.

"My other primary focus this season is coaching the B Grade and working through developing juniors and to find the next core group of A Grade netballers," McIntyre said.

"A lot of us probably won't be playing in a couple of years due to life experiences and so we need to start focusing on the next group, starting with the B Grade.

"We have a young group of kids in B Grade that we will work with and bring in. The focus is on them having fun and teaching them things and keeping them together so they can all potentially be in the position we have been."


After voting down a merger with Taylors Lake in September, Laharum's President Hamish Roberts believes the club is in the best position they have ever been in.

"We identified three key areas that needed attention late last year and that was player numbers, volunteer numbers and income," Roberts said.

"We have worked our bums off to achieve that and I believe we are probably the strongest we have been in our history."

It is remarkable how the club has turned around in seven months. They have big numbers in netball and football and there is an abundance of volunteers around that club, and Roberts said the vibe is positive and exciting.

"We have just over 55 players on our reserves/seniors playing list which means you need to train to get a game," Roberts said.

When asked what he hopes to see the club achieve this year, Roberts pointed out competitiveness and enjoyment.

"We just want to be competitive across every grade in football and netball," Roberts said.

"I also want all of our people to be enjoying their football and netball and being around the community.

"We have done what we can with recruiting and the results will take care of themselves. As long as everyone is enjoying themselves and we have plenty of numbers then that's what we are there for."

Off the field, the club has a teams of the decade event. They will be announcing their best team of the 2010s and 1990s in both football and netball, with next year the 1980s and 2000s.

The other main thing is that Laharum has teamed up with Natimuk to start an indigenous recognition round, 'Battle of the Rocks.'

"We have the Grampians and they have the Arapiles, so we decided to partner with them for this concept," Roberts said.

"This year it will be a home game for us and next year Natimuk.

"It is held so we can celebrate our connection to indigenous culture and heritage between both the Grampians and Arapiles."


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