DRAGONS ANNOUNCE 2022 NAB LEAGUE GIRLS LEADERSHIP GROUP
By Dylan Bolch
The Sandringham Dragons have announced a five-person leadership group ahead of the upcoming NAB League Girls season.
The entire playing list – consisting of 60 players, each voted on who they thought makes a good leader at the club.
The 2022 NAB League Girls leadership group consists of Keely Coyne, Ella Sciberras, Tayla Jones, Lucy Mitchell and Bridie Hipwell.
All five girls have displayed tremendous leadership skills throughout their time in the program, showing hard work, drive and effective communication skills.
The girls are excited to get back out on to the park, after the COVID-19 pandemic has affected their on-field opportunities in the past couple of years.
“Really looking forward to having a year hopefully uninterrupted by COVID. Obviously if it is we will work with that but just looking for a year with less distractions than last year,” said Lucy Mitchell, who likens her game to that of Melbourne player Libby Birch.
A new season also means plenty of opportunity for a new crop of girls and the leadership group are excited to see how the team gels together.
“I think we’ve got a really good group of young girls coming through, we get to see how we go with them and see some new faces,” said Ella Scibberas, who has relished the chance to spend some more time in the midfield this preseason.
The 2022 NAB League Girls Leadership group: Keely Coyne, Ella Sciberras, Tayla Jones, Lucy Mitchell and Bridie Hipwell.
2022 also marks the beginning of a new era for the Dragons on the coaching front.
Former Head Coach Jackson Kornberg has departed, having taken up an opportunity as the VFL Head Coach at the Gold Coast Suns.
Wayne Cripps is the new man in charge, having crossed from the Oakleigh Chargers, where he has been since 2018.
Cripps played 298 games with East Burwood in the Eastern league, bringing a wealth of both playing and coaching experience to the Dragons in 2022.
A new coach means a new game plan and Tayla Jones, who plays for the Hampton Rovers Senior Football Club, is excited to put it all into action during the season opener against Tasmania this weekend.
“We are a very attacking team this year, so with Crippa’s new game plan, I reckon it’ll fit our team quite beautifully,” said Jones.
The 2022 NAB League Sandringham Dragons NAB League squad.
Each of the five girls who make up the leadership group spoke about what qualities they will bring to the position this season at the club’s preseason camp on Sunday.
Utility Bridie Hipwell has been in the Dragons program for multiple years now and her performances have seen her selected for both the Under 17s and Under 19s Vic Metro squads during her time at the Dragons.
She is focused on forming strong relationships, which will hopefully translate to on-field success in 2022.
“Being approachable, supportive but having a strong voice and really bringing the girls together because I think we can really make that a good part of our game, the friendships both on-field and off-field,” said Hipwell.
Mitchell, who plays for Old Brighton in the VAFA, wants everyone in the squad to feel valued and believe in the skillset they bring to the team.
“Making everyone feel valued with their own talents, I think that’s how we can get the best out of girls,” said Mitchell.
Working as a team to build something special has been a theme all throughout preseason and Scibberas is aiming to home in on that with her leadership.
“Being really inclusive, we have spoken about togetherness and connectivity a lot. I am looking forward to working together to bring out the best in all of us and creating something good this year,” she said.
Keely Coyne, who impressed in the club’s intraclub practice match on the weekend, is focused on being approachable as a leader and hopes the Dragons continue to set high standards of one another as the season goes on.
“Being approachable and showing that we care about one another, setting high standards for each other,” said Coyne.
Jones wants to further development the sisterhood feel that she has loved being a part of during her time at the Dragons.
“I think we also need to push hard with selfless acts. We want to create a group of girls who are like sisters. You can go to anyone, and they can be there for you, that helps to improve our game play too,” she said.
The Dragons girls had a strong hit-out on Sunday, as a part of the club's preseason camp.
Cripps is looking forward to working with the girls this season but is focussed on their off-field enjoyment as much as their on-field success.
“It comes down to hard work really,” said Cripps.
“I just want the girls to have fun though and love what they do. If they don’t love coming to training and love their footy, then I’m not doing my job properly.
“Love and hard work are what it’s going to come down to.”
Cripps has been impressed by the leadership group and is keen to see what they can bring to the table this season.
“They tick all the boxes, whether it’s out on the track leading by example, these five are usually the ones leading the way.
“The banter or voice on the field, they’re the ones driving that.”
The Dragons girls begin their 2022 NAB League campaign this Saturday at midday against the Tasmania Devils.