We are just one sleep away from the 2019 National Championships in Perth and the Victorian Open Women’s State Team is ready and focused heading into the event.
With the event running from 5-11 January, the Victorian Titans will be competing for the Gilley’s Shield and looking to improve on last year’s wonderful result where they finished fourth.
Speaking in the lead up to the competition, Titans Head Coach Mark Rigg believes the current group can achieve great things, and is feeling positive about how they will perform.
“I am really positive about how we are going to go this year – I am impressed with our team and how they look and the way they have gone about it so far – the whole coaching group is feeling quite positive about this year,” he said.
“The preparation leading up to the tournament has been really good – we’ve been training pretty hard, doing the right things and working on quite a bit which has continued from what we have been doing over the past couple of years.
“Everyone is preparing themselves for what they need to do and training has been really good so we are feeling confident that we can give it a good crack.”
Rigg noted that the team has been travelling down a long-term path that was set up a few years ago, and hopes that the 2019 tournament will continue the positive results that we have seen over that time.
“Last year we finished fourth and made the finals for the first time in 14 years so everyone was pretty excited by that,” he said.
“But now we are all keen to take another step forward and be playing on the last day, and hopefully be there when it counts at the pointy end of the week.
Rigg also made mention of the important role that the 2018 Women’s Invitational tournament played in the lead-up to this years Nationals.
“You can train as much as you like, but playing games is absolutely crucial in the lead-up to these sorts of tournaments.
“For the girls to have been able to play high quality games rather than just be on the track for two to three hours was valuable and something that will help push forward in a bigger and better way.”
Debutant Milli Mercuri echoed the sentiments of Rigg, saying that there is a strong belief within the Titans’ camp that they can really give the title a good shake.
“I just want to show the other states what we have got,” Mercuri said.
“I feel very confident with the team that we have competing this year and I want to be able to get out there and show them that we can do it.
“Personally my goal at the tournament is to experience an Open Women’s tournament from a player’s perspective – I have seen it as a spectator previously but seeing it from a players point of view is going to be very different.”
Mercuri has made the jump to the Open Women’s team in her first year out of Under 19’s competition, and said she was excited when she found out that she had made the team.
“I feel very privileged to have been chosen to represent the Titans this year – especially having just come out of Under 19’s,” she said.
“I am so excited to just get as much as I can out of this tournament and learn as much as I can from the players around me as they are all such incredible players.
“I was shocked and excited – I didn’t think I would make it first year in , but I am so grateful – it’s hard to explain the feeling that I got, but it was an overwhelming warmth.”
Mercuri said that the squad has trained well in the lead up to the tournament, and that the extra workload will be significant when it came down to business in Perth.
“The Titans have been training – we started off training two times a week before upping it to three times a week and I have also been doing extra training three days a week.
“So it has been pretty full on but we will no doubt be grateful for it because when it comes to the Nationals it helps us prepare for what it’s going to be like.”
For all the action from the 72nd Women’s National Softball Championship, keep tuned to www.softball.org.au/72nd-womens-national-softball-championship.