WHATEVER happens in this season’s finals series, Lake Wendouree’s netballers will feel a sense of sadness when it’s all over.
That’s because it will be the last campaign in Lakers colours for the legendary Sally McLean, who will step aside from her role as senior coach and joint netball co-ordinator at the end of the year.
A move to Geelong in May has meant McLean has had to travel back to Ballarat to fulfil her duties, which combined with her ongoing battle with cancer has made things tough.
McLean says it was a difficult decision to leave a club that has given her so much love and support, particularly during her illness, which was diagnosed in 2007.
“I don’t think they understand how much the club has done for me, with their support, friendship and help during that period,” McLean said.
“To have have that support has been fantastic.”
McLean has been at the forefront during a famous period in the club’s history, initially taking over the under-18 coaching reins for the first time in 2002.
Her four-year stint with the junior girls returned two premierships before she was elevated to senior coach in 2006.
It was here she built a dynasty of success, leading the A-grade girls to five premierships, including a historic four-peat between 2007-2010.
McLean, whose three children have played at the club, has been named Ballarat Football League netball coach of the year on five separate occasions, as well as netball co-ordinator of the year once.
A clean sweep of all four netball division flags in 2010 stands as one of the many highlights over the years for McLean, who has enjoyed the success, but admits it will be the friendships that will be most cherished.
The journey could all be over very soon, with the Lakers’ A-grade team taking on Melton in a knockout elimination final tomorrow.
“I haven’t really thought about it and at the moment we are focusing on this week’s game and that’s the most important thing,” McLean said.