Wallan senior women’s premiership captain Kelly Lennox believes the benefits that have come out of the club’s triumph last year will help her side remain competitive in 2024.
In 2023, Lennox led the Magpies to a remarkable turnaround following a winless 2022 campaign, as they finished on top of the Division 3 ladder on their way to the club’s first ever premiership in the senior women’s competition, defeating Darebin in grand final.
It was also a brilliant year for her individually, as she picked up the competition best and fairest award as well as a second straight selection in the Division 3 Team of the Year.
Reflecting on a season full of highlights, Lennox was grateful for the successes that came her way over the last 12 months, ranking the grand final win as a her most memorable experience.
“Looking back on everything that happened last year, it was just sort of like, I don’t think I could have 2023 over again but if I could, I would,” she said.
“Individual awards are great, but when you win a premiership with a team, it’s just something that everyone dreams of, and it sometimes just doesn’t happen over your career.”
The new piece of silverware has brought a bunch of benefits to the club’s women’s football program, as not only have they been able to retain the majority of the premiership winning squad, but they’ve also attracted new players both locally and from other clubs ahead of the 2024 season.
Lennox believes it will only add to the strong chemistry the team has built over the last 12 months.
“We’ve had a lot of interest, a lot of new girls have come down to the club and are doing some pre-season training,” she said.
“The connection of all the girls in the team has grown too, we’re all pretty much friends outside of the club, the bond there is really good and really strong, and I think everyone is just enjoying it.”
After playing all 16 games for Wallan last year, Lennox will also return to the playing field in 2024. She’s 12 matches away from playing 50 senior women’s games for the club.
The 48-year-old is confident she will again be able to lead her side this season.
“We’ll see how the body goes, I’m pretty sure I will [play], but I struggled at the end of last year, both my knees were absolutely cooked,” she said.
“I’ve had a pretty quiet off-season, just taking it easy. Hopefully the knee holds up and I’ll be right.”
While team nominations are still coming in for the upcoming campaign, Wallan could make an appearance in Division 2 for the first time since their inaugural senior women’s season in 2021.
But it’s a challenge that the Magpies star is embracing, as she believes the move to a higher grade will unlock even more potential for her side.
“We’re up for the challenge [of Division 2], I think we’re under no illusions that this year isn’t going to be easy on us, so I think we need to step up to another level, take that on board and just be competitive,” she said.
“I think it’ll be good for us [to play Division 2]. We’ll grow more as a team with the new people coming in and I think we’ll be competitive.
“We can do Division 2, we’ve done it before and we struggled, but it’s a different team now so I think we can go back there and give it another crack.”
With pre-season training ramping up ahead of the new campaign, Lennox tipped fellow 2023 Division 3 Team of the Year member Kia Montgomery as one of the players to take her game to the next level this year.
Playing her first season of senior football in 2023, Montgomery kicked eight goals and played all 16 matches for the Magpies year.
“She was awesome in her first season last year and I think she really showed that she can play,” she said.
“She’s got very strong hands, she can go forward, she can go in the midfield, and I think she’ll go very good again this season.”