Kerrie Gray named Goulburn Murray coach of the year

By Brayden May

KERRIE Gray's legend at the Stanhope Football Netball Club is only continuing to grow.

To date, Gray already has over 350 games, a league best and fairest, a club best and fairest, five A grade premierships and three under 17 premierships to her name.

But her profile only became bigger last weekend when she was named the Goulburn Murray Coaches Association Senior Netball Coach of the Year, beating out Shepparton Swans Dylan Nexhip and Picola United's Emma Greaves.

The award capped off a remarkable year for the A grade playing coach whose senior side finished the year as premiers and champions of the Kyabram District League.

“It's always nice to be acknowledged but you don't do the job for personal accolades,” Gray said.

“I was blessed with the group of girls I had because they made my job much easier.

“You don't always get players who have lots of talent but also want to build a strong culture.

“This year's premiership was definitely one I'm most proud of.”

While there is often a strong focus on the outcome of an A grade team's season, Gray is just as focused on Stanhope's young netballers — coaching the under 17s in 2019.

And she said that role is just as important.

“The A grade job and under 17s go hand in hand,” she said.

“Our juniors are the future of our club so it's important we can teach them what to expect when they make the step up into senior netball full-time.

“We also want them to be enjoying the game, because if they fall out of love with it at a young age they could be lost for ever.

“In this year's A grade team, there were five girls who I had coached in juniors and to see them progress gives me a great feeling of satisfaction.

“Hopefully we see a few girls from this year's team make the transition in the coming years.”

Despite being largely known for her netball achievements since making her debut at 15, Gray has become a larger than life figure at Stanhope.

And she wouldn't have it any other way.

“It's a place where you want to be,” she said.

“When I was young there was a lot of people who helped show me the way and now I have the opportunity to give back to the club.

“I've made life long friends and now my kids have the opportunity to be involved, which is great.

“I look forward to spending a lot more time at Stanhope in future.”