RICK Romein has taken up the challenge of taking the Ballarat Lady Devils to greater heights.
After the team was runners up in this year’s Football Federation Victoria state league one championship, Romein raised his hand to lead them for a second season.
“I’d like to keep coaching as long as the girls will have me,” Romein said this week.
Romein took over the coaching position last year and led the team to victory in the grand final, but having finished third on the ladder the team was ineligible for promotion to the Women’s Premier Division.
This year, the girls again finished third for the third year in a row.
Romein said for the coming season the team would raise its standards with the aim of being promoted.
“We’ll be working on the same things as always – to be at a standard technically, tactically and strategically to be in the top two,” he said.
Romein said the girls’ fitness early in the season held them back from performing at their best.
“It was a bit of a downer this year that we were behind the eight ball when the season began. There were girls that hadn’t put the work in prior to pre-season,” he said.
“Their fitness was poor. If their fitness is up to scratch going into pre-season, it gives us more time to do what we need to do.
“We need to be ready all the time to play the good teams and play consistently against them.”
Although the team had its weaknesses over the season, Romein said the culture of the team and the girls honesty with each other was exceptional.
He said there were a lot of factors affecting who would be in the team next year.
“We’ve got a lot of girls in year 12, so whether they continue with us may depend on whether they go to University in Ballarat or not,” he said.
“We hope to pick up a few girls from the summer squad – maybe from Geelong, Warrnambool and Horsham – and our development squad also has a great group of girls.”
Romein said he did not think the Lady Devils needed to recruit big name players from outside.
“I’d like to think we’ve got the talent in Ballarat and Wimmera districts to get up to that level,” he said.
After finishing third for the third year, promotion is definitely a key motivator for the Lady Devils.
“We’d like to get promoted – there’s no question there, but in 2014 there may be a B league to the premier league as there will be structure changes,” Romein said.
“If we want to get promoted, we need to be consistent – that’s our biggest challenge.”
Although the Lady Devils missed out by a small margin for both the premiership title and the promotion, Romein said the year had its strengths.
“We had a pretty good year and I’ve had help from the other coaches Laura Brady and Tony Horrocks.”