Avenel premiership coach Kathryn Hard has shelved retirement plans to help her best friend and successor Tegan Hansen.
Hard intended to end her playing career on a high after winning last year’s Warren Medal and leading the Swans to last year’s Kyabram District Netball League premiership.
However, new Swans coach Hansen has convinced the 2011 Wellman Family medallist to return as a player this season.
‘‘When your best friend takes over and they are short on goalies, it is difficult to say no,’’ Hard said.
‘‘I have been roped in, we have so much respect for each other and I just want to help her out.’’
Hard said she looking forward to leaving most responsibilities that come with the coaching role.
‘‘It is great, I can come play and go whenever I want, I do not have to worry about all the other stuff,’’ she said with a laugh.
Hansen will direct Hard on the court and the first-time coach was intrigued by the idea.
‘‘It is going to be different. She has all the experience, so I will be leaning on her for support throughout the season,’’ Hansen said.
‘‘We are very happy to have her back at the club.’’
After coaching for the past two seasons, this will be Hard’s third year at the club, but she did not expect to play every game.
‘‘There might be some games where I can not play and I will be in Melbourne,’’ Hard said.
‘‘But I will try and play as much as possible.’’
Hard believed the time was right to retire, despite changing her mind so quickly.
‘‘It was not a premature decision, I thought it was the right thing to do. I needed a break as it was a pretty stressful year for me last season,’’ Hard said.
The Swans begin their premiership defence with a grand final rematch against Nagambie on April 1.