Dapto Storm emerge from merger

NETBALL

The Illawarra Premier League's defending champions Dapto Reunited will contest this year's competition under a new title after just two players from the premiership outfit will play on.

The team has merged with their second team to adopt the changed name of Dapto Storm, with a number premiership players either changing clubs or are having the season off through injury or raising families.

Under the Reunited logo, Dapto secured a hat-trick of grand final triumphs with a 47-46 win over Vipers in last year's decider.

But coach Jackie Johnson is setting her moulded squad more modest expectations for the new season.

"The Storm team is made up of some younger players and some of the players from the second Dapto team. I am hoping to [do] better than we did last year and finish middle of the competition," Johnson said.

"We have a tough one this week against Brindles, so that will give me an idea on how we are going to go."

The champions' changed roster paves the way for 2013 runners-up Vipers to march into favouritism for this year's competition, which starts on the weekend.

Vipers coach Heath Sangster said his side was feeling no ill effects from last season's loss and were ready to end their run of bridesmaid finishes.

"We are definitely the team to beat this year," Sangster said.

The minor premiership winners of last campaign have brought in new recruits Molly Duggan and Sophie Schetor to further their title charge.

"We have brought in the two girls who both played for Corrimal last year to strengthen our mid court," Sangster said.

"They both play for Illawarra in the State League, so they are obviously both very talented youngsters."

Vipers are up against Woonona McDonald's in their opening match while, in other games, A1 Champions Corrimal RSL Cadets will play against Woonona WBRSL and Wests Titans meet SMJ.

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