9 April, 2024

Rupanyup 2024 Season Preview

A look at Rupanyup's 2024 season in both football and netball and a message from President Matt Webb.

By Chris Graetz

Rupanyup 2024 Season Preview - feature photo

The Panthers won the flag in 2022 and made the semifinals last year and in his third year as coach, Brayden Ison has his sights firmly set on finals again this year.

There are a handful of players missing from last year such as Elliot Kelly, Ryan Timmins Joe Tormey, Mitch Musgrove and Jordan Weidemann.

With the loss, however, come some massive gains.

2022 premiership player Andy Phelan returns to the midfield after a year off playing for Churchill.

The midfield will also be boosted by Kane Timmins from Wandalla in the Golden Rivers Football League whilst winger Lachlan Holm comes from the Stawell Warriors.

The forward line and defence have been bolsted by Thomas Smith, a lightly built agile hybrid forward from West Gambier in the Limestone Coast League and small defender Bailey Rothall from Glencoe in the Mid South Eastern League.

Ison said finals is the first target for the season and then will take it from there.

"If we can make finals again, then anything can happen," Ison said.

"Finals is a different ball game and once you make finals you give yourselves every chance."

It is yet to be seen how many games key defender Connor Weidemann and midfielder/back flanker Alby Kingston play due to Rebels commitments, but when they do play, they will boost the team.

"It's great to see them both in the Rebels again," Ison said.

"Albie in particular had a full year of senior football as a 16-year-old and has shown massive improvement. He can move to the back flank and show what he is made of as a dashing running halfback.

"It's good for the supporters of the club to have these kids in the Rebels as everyone has seen them develop and grow up and they now have the opportunity to take their football to the next level."

When asked which youngsters are impressing this year, Ison mentioned two. Jimmy Finnigan and Riley Downer.

"This will be Jimmy's first year out of the under-17s and first full year in seniors and he has been training well. He will fit that centre half forward position," Ison said.

"Riley Downer is a 15-year-old who looks very impressive at an early stage and could be anything. Depending on rules he may play some senior games this year.

"Max Sudholz is another to mention. He played a few senior games last year and has been looking great."

Panthers have the bye in round one and will open their season at home against Pimpinio.


The Panthers netballers, A and B squads will be coached by Jedda Heard and the A side is poised to be one of the premiership fancies.

Heard was best on court in the Grand Final for the Horsham Demons in the 2022 Wimmera Netball League Grand Final and has been a state title representative so the signing is a massive coup for a Panthers squad that is poised to take the next step.

There has been a recruiting spree in the off-season with Victoria Taylor, Maddi Morgan and Meg Cashin all joining the club.

Taylor comes from Pimpinio and Heard said she would be massive in defence.

"Victoria will be a huge asset down back. She is strong, tall, versatile and she can create a lot of drive down the attacking end," Heard said.

Maddi Morgan and Meg Cashin both join from Minyip Murtoa and will strengthen the attack and midcourt.

"Maddi will be a strong asset in the ring and will be hard to defend," Heard said.

"Cashin is a really strong leader in the midcourt and she will be one of the main midcourters that can provide drive and that will be important for what we want to do."

The Panthers have also retained some key players from last year including league-leading goal shooter, Zanaiya Bergen.

After making the preliminary finals last year, Heard believes they have the talent to take the next step.

"They did well last year and we definitely want to improve on that. We want to win," Heard said.

"What I want to do is create a place where people want to come to play. A place where they know they will get a lot out of training and know what they are going to get."

Heard emphasised junior development as a key.

"We want to develop the young netballers so they stay and create that foundation of juniors coming through that can last for the next five to ten years," Heard said.

"We want to encourage them to go to seniors training and a lot of them are joining in and that is important.

"There are a few that could take the step this year, but we need to see how well they are going at training and whether we think they can come up to the seniors."


Matt Webb is returning as Rupanyup president in 2024 and the club couldn't be in better shape heading into the season.

Securing Brayden Ison as coach for another season as well as bringing on Jedda Heard as A Grade netball coach was a big coup for the club and Webb said it was important for the club to get them signed on.

"As soon as the season ended last year we knew we needed to sign Brayden again and we made it a priority," Webb said.

"We like Iso as a coach and he has done a great job for us and has been successful over the last few years.

"He is very good with focusing on juniors and trying to develop them. You can see with guys like Connor Weidemann and Albie Kingston playing for the Rebels. He gave them that chance and they have shone."

"To be able to get Jedda to the club has been important as well. We had to try and get the momentum going from last year and she has started beautifully with the new team."

Webb said the juniors are scraping by and the new ruling by the AFL with the bottom age numbers could have a significant impact all the way through juniors, but time will tell on that.

"We just don't know how that will all affect things yet. With the insurance and everything, we just have to wait and see," Webb concluded.


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