Eloise Southby, Natasha Chokljat to lead Ballarat netball team Sovereigns into new era

LEADERSHIP: Newly appointed Sovereigns coach Natasha Chokljat (above) and high performance manager Eloise Southby will bring a wealth of experience to the new team. PICTURE: GETTY IMAGES

LEADERSHIP: Newly appointed Sovereigns coach Natasha Chokljat (above) and high performance manager Eloise Southby will bring a wealth of experience to the new team. PICTURE: GETTY IMAGES

LEADERSHIP: Newly appointed Sovereigns coach Natasha Chokljat and high performance manager Eloise Southby (above) will bring a wealth of experience to the new team. PICTURE: GETTY IMAGES

LEADERSHIP: Newly appointed Sovereigns coach Natasha Chokljat and high performance manager Eloise Southby (above) will bring a wealth of experience to the new team. PICTURE: GETTY IMAGES

TWO former Australian representatives will lead Ballarat into a new netball era.

Eloise Southby has been appointed high performance manager for newly-formed Victorian Netball League club Sovereigns, with Natasha Chokljat championship division head coach.

The signings follow Netball Victoria granting the Sovereigns a three-year licence to play in the statewide competition.

Formerly branded as Pride, Ballarat was booted from the league after the 2014 season.

It was the only club in the 10-strong competition not to have its licence automatically renewed for 2015 to 2017.

Chokljat had earlier this year been named as one of a handful of high-profile specialist coaches in Ballarat's licence submission to Netball Victoria.

The 35-year-old Chokljat played 25 tests for Australia, winning a world championships silver medal in 2003, four premierships with Melbourne Phoenix and one with the Melbourne Vixens in 2009.

Southby, 38, started in 34 tests for the Aussies, winning a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in 2002 before being part of the 2003 world championships runner-up team.

She also played in five Phoenix titles.

Sovereigns chairman Bill Mundy said Southby and Chokljat would benefit the club in its infancy.

"Having Eloise and Natasha commit to our coaching programs is extremely exciting, not just from the point of view of the wealth of experience that they both bring to their roles, but also from a profile point of view," Mundy said.

"We're hoping that having Eloise and Natasha on board will help attract talented players from all across Victoria to the Sovereigns."

The Sovereigns officially announced the appointments at a special media conference on Wednesday night in Taylors Lakes. The club is now seeking coaches for division one and 19-under teams.

Sovereigns player trials start on Sunday, September 14, at the Wendouree Netball Centre, where both Southby and Chokljat are expected to be present.

tim.oconnor@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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