Echuca is like family to Sheridan Townrow and in some aspects her teammates literally are related.
The supreme shooter took time off from Victoria Park to work in Darwin, but upon returning to Victoria to live in Melbourne her cousin Bridget Byrne urged Townrow to travel back up and play at Echuca.
‘‘She begged me to come back up and she really wanted me to come back for her first season in A-grade and I wanted to come back anyway,’’ Townrow said.
‘‘And if you’re getting in the car you might as well go to Echuca rather than any other league around.
‘‘I have some very good friends in the team and if they’re not personal friends, they’re family friends.’’
As a talented teenager Byrne stands tall in goal keeper and has collected plenty of ball this season to give her cousin the best opportunity to finish it off in goals.
Townrow, 25, is close to the entire team after a majority played basketball and netball together growing up and all rose to reasonable levels with basketball.
‘‘I played basketball quite competitively when I was a junior, we did Vic Country and there were a few girls that played; Zara (Pearson), Holly (Butler), Erin (Hill) and I all did that,’’ she said.
‘‘Basketball in Echuca is very well coached, there’s always been great opportunity for sport in Echuca.’’
The sporting nature of Echuca was highlighted for Townrow in 2015 when the Murray Bombers last played off in a grand final and a core group remains present.
Townrow was part of the side that was defeated by Seymour on a stifling hot day, but Townrow said it showed how much the town could unite and back its netballers.
‘‘In a town like Echuca it was pretty huge and the build up was pretty big, it was such an achievement for so many people and not just the team, but we’ve got such a good club behind us,’’ she said.
‘‘The whole town gets behind us and it’s very exciting and we’ve worked hard all season, so we’re keen to get back out there now.’’
Townrow first started in the A-grade side while still qualifying for under-17s and sat on the sidelines watching GVL legend Penny Reinehr and Trinity Keath in the shooting circle.
‘‘I was maybe 15 or 16 I think and I sat on the bench for most of my first season because Trinity Keath and Penny Reinehr were still around,’’ Townrow said.
‘‘The next season Trinity moved away so I got a go in there and I was pretty young and it was an awesome experience.’’
Townrow herself moved away after the grand final loss and the nurse took up a position at Royal Darwin Hospital, going on an adventure with friends.
‘‘We went up for work which was unreal and we didn’t plan to stay as long as we did, but it was really good,’’ she said.
‘‘I had a friend that was begging me to go with her and a few others jumped on and I was like ‘alright I’ll go’ and it was really good in the emergency department at Darwin hospital.’’
She played a season in the Northern Territory, but went overseas to Central and South America in her second year and spent time away from the courts.
But she is enjoying being back at her home club and being pivotal in the circle, displayed as Townrow was Echuca’s highest poller in the Wellman Family Medal with a sizeable 17 votes, placing her in the top 10 of the count.
While she is raring to take to the court she said coach Gina Pearson was possibly more pumped than all the players.
‘‘We’re all just very keen and Gina is extremely keen to get out there, she’s very excited, she’s unreal with her knowledge and the way she puts forward that knowledge,’’ Townrow said.
‘‘It’s not an easy job and people think ‘you should have done this’, but she puts so much thought and preparation into any decision, there’s not much that she does wrong.’’