Club History – 1997 to 2002

THE NEW ETSA CONTAX (1997 – 2002)

Proud of our past, confident of our future

1997 brought on massive changes to Netball in South Australia as we had known it. The National Netball League formed, with the total starting line up of our 1996 premiership team selected to play for the AAMI Thunderbirds. Marg Angove, club coach of 16 years was also appointed coach of the AAMI Thunderbirds. The depth of ETSA Contax would be put to the ultimate test. With Barney Williams appointed as coach and Tania Obst as captain, this was the combination to lead the “new ETSA Contax” in to their next challenge. The State League finished runners up to Matrics. Although disappointing at the time, this was a creditable achievement given that our team was made up of the entire Reserves team from the previous year. It was obvious that the years of junior development provided the club with the strength it needed to continue to be a force. 1998 proved to be disappointing. For the first time in 13 seasons, our State League team did not compete in the Grand Final following a one-goal loss to Tango in the Preliminary Final. The 1999 season brought on a new hunger for success. The State League players were sure that they didn’t want a repeat of last season. Youngsters Jane Altschwager and Laura von Bertouch were promoted to regular starters in the State League line up. Newly appointed captain Vicki Neale returned after recovering from a knee reconstruction. Grand Final night started perfectly with the Reserves winning comfortably over Cougars. The celebrations were halted when the State League team lost by one goal in extra time. The disappointment was even greater for Vicki Neale in her final appearance in the blue body suit. 2000 was our year. In an exciting and innovative recruiting coup, Contax attracted the services of England International player, Tracey Neville. Tracey was very popular with fellow players and supporters, and she brought a new professionalism and enthusiasm to the club. Contax returned to the top of the table where they belonged. Our State League team, in Barney William’s final year as Club Coach finished in first place with an inspiring 6-goal win over the fancied Australian Institute of Sport team. The Contax mid court boasting the riches of the von Bertouch sisters and Leanne Oats dominated the play in what was one of our best performances in recent times. This followed an exciting over time victory by the Reserves side. In fact, the top six grades of our Club finished top of the table. In 2001, ETSA Contax appointed premiership-winning Reserves coach Tania Obst as the new club coach. There were 6 player changes to the State League squad, including the transfer of reigning club Best & Fairest Natalie von Bertouch to the Australian Institute of Sport. In a year which was difficult to maintain consistency due to new players and injury, the State League team finished 3rd. In 2002, ETSA Contax celebrated our 50th year at a luncheon at the Stoneyfell Winery, with many current and past players and officials in attendance. Our club figured prominently at ETSA Park in season 2002. An amazing 25 teams entered the finals series with 19 going on to compete in Grand Finals, and 11 winning premierships. Tania Obst and Fay Walsh coached the State League and Reserves teams to premierships to put Contax back at the top, where we belong. Well-earned club life memberships were awarded to Rod Hook and Marlene Staker for their massive individual contributions to Contax over a significant period of time. Marlene has contributed almost 20 years as a coach and co-ordinator. Rod Hook was awarded Life Membership for his years of contribution to our club on the Management Committee and State League Committee as our representative. Rod’s inclusion as our first male Life Member is well earned, he is indeed the most respected and knowledgeable netball administrator of the modern game.