OTWAY DISTRICTS hope the return of Colac Imperials premiership star Candi Robbins can help end the Demons’ two-decade absence from A Grade netball finals.
New Demons coach Emma Craddock confirmed this week that the three-time premiership goaler had returned to her junior club Otway Districts.
Robbins played junior netball and two seasons in the senior grades at the Demons, where her brother Brody Mahoney and cousin Justin Robbins also played.
She developed into one of Colac district’s most dominant netballers with Colac Imperials, winning the association’s A Grade best-and-fairest award in 2009, while also being a member of the club’s 2012, ’13 and ’14 premiership teams.
She also coached the Imps to grand finals in the past three seasons.
Craddock said Robbins would be a major coup for the Demons, bringing a wealth of experience, knowledge and talent.
Robbins joins her partner and former Otway Districts coach Ross Panther at the club.
“We’re very happy to get Candi on board, I think we’ve tried to get her back to the club every year since she left,” Craddock said.
“She’ll be our captain this season, so it’ll be nice for the young girls to have someone who has coached and played finals to learn from,” she said.
“She’ll help develop all our younger players and be a mentor for all of them, and she’s a good support for me as well, a lot of my ideas are run by her.”
Robbins has been among Colac district netball’s top five goal scorers in recent years, playing alongside reigning best-and-fairest winner Rebecca Scott and youngster Olivia Paatsch.
Paatsch also made a return to the Demons in February and Craddock said she and Robbins would form a dominant duo in attack.
“We’ve struggled for so many years without a strong goaler, and now we have that,” Craddock said.
“Candi’s such a smart player, she moves so well and seems to always be there when you need her,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Demons’ footballers have appointed midfielder Leigh Mahoney as the club’s senior captain in a leadership group that also includes vice-captain Stewart Sutherland, Dean Mahoney and Ross Panther.