Since starting his netball coaching career close to a decade ago, Noel Halton has made the most of every opportunity that's come his way. The former Wangaratta Rovers' A-grade coach was recently named a finalist for Coach of the Year as part of the 2023 Netball Victoria Community Awards for his contribution to the state's Marie Little Shield team, as well as Corowa-Rutherglen's under-15s. "It's quite humbling," Halton said. "Obviously you don't coach netball for these sorts of nominations, but it's nice to be recognised by your peers. "I started coaching Rutherglen's under-13s about 11 years ago. "I fell in love with the game and was hooked, and I just wanted to keep exploring and doing as much as I could. "Like I say to people, I'll never die wondering, because I put in for every job I can. "Even if I can help develop one person in some small way, that just makes me feel good about it." Halton led the Victorian side to a gold medal at the Marie Little Shield competition at Waverley Netball Centre in September. It marked his second term at the helm of the side, with the competition providing female athletes with an intellectual disability a chance to represent their state. "That would probably have to be the most satisfying part of my netball journey so far," Halton said. "The amount of effort these athletes put in and the commitment they show is second to none. "Last year we went to Sydney and were runners-up against NSW, and this year we turned the tables. "We played all through the rounds and NSW actually beat us on the morning of the grand final. "When we came out and played them in the afternoon, the girls basically switched on and reversed and we ended up winning. "It was a good result for all the hard work the girls put in, it's fantastic to be a part of." While his season at the helm of Corowa-Rutherglen's juniors had a different feel with the club forfeiting several senior grades, he enjoyed the challenge. "To the club's credit, they pushed through and got through the season, but it didn't have the same atmosphere of normal Saturday footy and netball," Halton said. "After a really challenging season, it's great to see them back on board again in the Ovens and Murray for next year. "No one wants to see them go under and they've worked really hard off the field to make it happen." Halton also assisted Fiona Boyer with the North East under-17s at the State Titles and has been involved with Victorian Netball League club North East Blaze. He's set to assist Blaze in Melbourne again next year and will continue to work with the Victorian Marie Little Shield side, however, he will be taking a step back from local club netball. "Both my kids will be at Rutherglen next year and I think it's time I gave a bit back to them," he said. Halton was at the helm of Rovers' A-grade side for the 2021 Ovens and Murray League season. He's one of four nominees for the Coach of the Year award, with the winner set to be announced virtually next week.