NETBALLER Caitlyn Strachan wanted to get the best from herself, so she moved to Yarra Valley Grammar Ariels before the start of last season.
Now the 25-year-old centre court player wants to push her side to the next level and win the highly prized Victorian Netball League championship division.
The VNL season starts tomorrow night.
Strachan, who tied with Helen Barclay and Mwai Kumwenda for the Margaret Caldow Trophy as VNL most valuable player last season, said her side looked primed to contend for the premiership despite missing the finals last year.
"We have worked extremely hard over preseason and we have a nice balance of youth and experience," Strachan said.
"The team is coming together really well and the VNL preseason competition has been highly valuable for us as it gave us the chance to trial a few new combinations."
Strachan will captain the Ariels this season, a further demonstration of how respected she is within the side, while Sophie O'Shea and Kaitlyn Black will serve as vice-captains.
Strachan said she had revelled in the structured, well-designed training program which she credits with leading to her exceptional 2012 season.
"I was looking for new challenges and the Ariels were provided with numerous challenges in terms of fitness and training programs; on court I thrived," she said. "With Southern Saints, my old side, I was an experienced, mature player and I was comfortable in my environment.
"I needed to take myself out of that comfort zone to get new challenges, more training and more structure.
"The Ariels provided me with that extra edge."
With plenty of promising young players in the Ariels, Strachan says they're all excited about the addition of a second Victorian side, Vic Flames, in the Australian Netball League competition which comes after the VNL season and works as a feeder league for ANZ championship clubs.
"Victoria is such a strong netball state that it's hard to break into that next level," she said.
"If we can be extra competitive this year we'll attract more interest from coaches and selectors."
Strachan considers her side a serious contender for the title. "There's plenty of competition in the VNL, but I believe that this year we have the right mix of players to be extremely competitive, to win the VNL competition."