Toni Hart (Johnson) My Redan Story
What are some of your earliest memories of playing netball as a child?
Carol Brennen was our coach and we were the original netball team for Redan. I played reserves but also played seniors and then got together the Under 17's which I went on to coach for a year. I remember playing two games for seniors and reserves because we never had enough players for both teams.
Playing in Daylesford in the snow is a memory that sticks out the most as it was probably the coldest I've ever been in my life. The best part about it was that I played with my friends and we were not very good those first years. We were there to have fun.
Who or what was it that drew you to Redan and what were your impressions of the club?
My Dad (Philip Johnson) was the publican at the time of The Bunch of Grapes Hotel where we also lived and sponsored Redan and told me (didn't ask) that i was going to play netball for Redan whether i liked it or not and i also had to find some friends to fill a team.
I was only just thirteen and Renea Kappe (who lived next door) and my self convinced a few friends to play and that was the start of Redan netball. We were young but put together the first playing team for Redan as best we could.
Where was the club playing it's matches during those days and how much of a disadvantage (if any) did you feel it was to be at a separate venue to the football?
We played all our home games at Clarendon College courts and because we walked everywhere back then we didn't care we were away from the ground. Being fifteen it was less distracting - lol. We used to finish a game then walk up the road to the City Oval and watch the boys play.
Who were some of the coaches you played under during your time with the club?
Carol Brennen was our original coach and then I think we had Marina Sarah fill in for a while. Myself and Sian Sutcliffe coached the Under 17's for a year or two.
Can you recall who some of the driving forces behind Redan netball were in those days?
Well there was no netball team before we got it together and Redan wanted one so my Dad told me and Renea's Dad told her we were to put together a team with Carol and play and that was the driving force. I think Flogger the butcher was President at the time maybe and that was all there was to it. Redan didn't have a team and they needed one. It was all in the community back then and we were all neighbors.
We were not the greatest team at the time. All very young and rarely won a game those first couple of years. But we went to training every week and then played every weekend. We were there to have a laugh and play for fun it wasn't as serious as it is now. But we showed up every week and gave it our best shot.
Who were the best five players you played within during your time at Redan and who was your toughest opponent?
I honestly can't remember opponents but I remember myself and Renea Kappe winning Best and Fairest a few times. It was 24 years ago so my memory of other players that weren't in the original team is rusty.
Were you part of any premierships during your time with the club and what were some of the highlights?
No. We were lucky to win one or two games that first season. More in the following seasons though. It wasn't until the club merged with the university that the team started to win more often. I remember when we won our first game we were pretty impressed with ourselves.
Did you play netball after your time with Redan and did you play in any premiership sides?
After Redan I only played through work and at the Major League complex. I played a few finals through those. I was always GS or GK because of my height.
Have you followed the club in recent years and what did you make of the club's maiden A Grade Netball win in 2011?
Not recently, but I still know a few people that still do. I think it's great that Redan netball has come such long way since we put that team together way back when. Back when we started the team we never got much recognition so it's great to see that the netball teams now get the recognition they fully deserve.
What are you up to these days are you still involved with netball and/or Redan?
No I have severe Rheumatoid arthritis and my netball playing days are well and truly over. I have been informed by my father that he wants my son to play for Redan though - lol.