New-look Eagles vie for hat-trick

A NEW-LOOK Maiden Gully YCW Eagles takes to the netball court for this season’s A-grade action in the Bendigo Bank Loddon Valley Football Netball League.

The Adam Boldiston-coached Eagles start their pursuit of a premiership hat-trick with a home game against Calivil United at Marist College Oval on April 13.

Plenty has changed in the Eagles’ nest since last September’s grand final win against Mitiamo.

There’s at least 10 players from across the A-grade and A-reserve teams of last season who have gone to other clubs or will not be playing.

Massive challenge for Boldiston and the team he puts together to stay perched on top of the league ladder.

Greatest challengers to the Eagles are likely to again be from Mitiamo, Marong and Pyramid Hill.

Bears Lagoon-Serpentine

After a winless run in A-grade last season, coach Danielle O’Toole and the team will be keen to net a few victories in the ’24 campaign.

Great coup by the Bears to gain O’Toole as coach after winning the A-grade best and fairest at Marong FNC last season.

Key players for the BLS line-up in ’23 include Elyssa Hartland, a dual best and fairest winner at the club.

A big pre-season for the Bears has included sessions at Gurri Wanyarra in Kangaroo Flat, F45 Bendigo, Body Fit.

The club’s coaching panel is Danielle O’Toole, A-grade; Lara Clements, B-grade; Nicky James, C-grade; Kylie Addlem, C-reserve; Sarah Perry, 17-and-under; Kiera Ellis, 15-and-under; Ash Long and Jess Penny, 13-and-under; Ava Francis, Minis.

Another key appointment was Amber Gibson as junior development coach.

The Bears are on their court at Gadsden Finance Serepentine Reserve on April 13 to face Pyramid Hill in round one.


A 7-9 record meant Bridgewater finished last season in sixth place, but just a victory behind the fifth-placed Newbridge.

Among the stars in the ’23 campaign were goal defence Kirsten Galea who earned the Pam Collins Memorial Award for best and fairest; Olivia Collicoat, goalshooter Danielle Flood, and Ashlee Bowen.

Co-coaches of A and B-grade for this season will be Caz Wood and Olivia Collicoat.

Among the newcomers in the red and white will be Carly Van Den Heuvel from Kangaroo Flat.

Also on Bridgewater’s coaching panel are Georgia Mamouney-Brown, C-grade, and Naomi Millie, C-reserve.

Other coaches are Tamara Hayes, 17-and-under; Dannielle Flood, 15-and-under; Julia Elkingston, 13-and-under; and Bree Wickham, Minis.

The Mean Machine is at home to play Newbridge in round one on April 13.

A night match at Maiden Gully a week later will be  followed by clashes with Inglewood, home; Pyramid Hill, away; and Bears-Lagoon Serpentine, home.

Calivil United

New coach Hayley Fawcett is in charge of one of the youngest squads in the competition.

The Demons will be fired up to improve on last season’s tally of four wins.

Tough start for Calivil United on Maiden Gully YCW’s court at Marist College Oval for the season opener on April 13.

Key players for the red and blue will include Akeily Pearce in defence, and newcomer Adele Barber who is likely to play in the defensive third.

The versatility of Michelle Balic is a huge plus for Calivil United, along with Maddy McGowan.

Calivil United’s coaching panel is Hayley Fawcett, A-grade; Maddy McGowan, B-grade; Kellie Anset and Amy Nicholls, C-grade and C-reserve; Alex Ingram, 17-and-under; Karen Pascoe, 15-and-under; Bec Cullen, 13-and-under; Michelle Balic, Minis.

The Demons face four of last season’s finalists across the opening five rounds.

Tough start for the red and blue begins with the match at Maiden Gully and is be followed by the clash on Pyramid Hill’s court in round two.

After a bye in round three, Calivil United has home games against Mitiamo and Marong.

A high of the Demons season includes the Return to Raywood on June 22 to play Maiden Gully YCW.


Last season’s club best and fairest, Abbey Hayes takes on the A-grade coaching role for ’24.

A star in the mid-court, Hayes will be aiming to lead the Blues toward a top-five finish.

Most of last year’s team will be on court and will be joined by recruits Georgia and Taylah Harrison.

The Blues coaches for this season are Abbey Hayes, A-grade and B-grade; Gen Lyons, C-grade; Shasta Maher, C-reserve.

Dianne Wayman will coach 17-and-under and 15-and-under, with Izzy Rollinson as assistant.

The 13-under team will be coached by Sharna Lewis, with Caitlyn Cartwright as assistant.

Hollie Matheson will coach Minis, with Freya Dawe as assistant coach.

After a first-round bye, Inglewood is at home at the newly-named Centre State Scaffolding Inglewood Oval to play Bears Lagoon-Serpentine on April 20.

The Blues run across the early rounds of the season includes the April 27 clash at Bridgewater, and home game on May 4 against Newbridge.

Maiden Gully YCW

The Eagles will field a vastly different team to the one which beat Mitiamo by three goals in last September’s grand final.

The Adam Boldiston-coached Eagles do have premiership winners Rachael Gray and Jayne Norton playing on.

Among the departures are goalshooter and Helen Ward medallist Tia Webb who has crossed to Rochester in the Goulburn Valley competition.

Newcomers to Maiden Gully YCW include Emily Barbour from Woodend-Hesket, and St Arnaud’s Lucy Gorrie.

Those playing on for the Eagles include Paige Barry, Mollie Dobeli, Takoda Freemantle, Olivia Hall, Lilly Heath, Katelyn Holmes, Laura Lindner, Olivia Mannes, Mackenzie Marsh, Madi Marsh, and Jemma Norton.

Club legend Christie Griffiths will coach the B-grade and 17-and-under teams.

Other members of the Eagles coaching panel are Ruth King, C-grade; Casey Durston, C-reserve; Olivia Hall, 15-and-under; Rachael Gray, 13-and-under; Skye Griffiths and Chloe Mulqueen, Minis.

The Eagles are home at Marist College Oval in Maiden Gully to play Calivil United on April 13.

Early rounds include the night match at home against Bridgewater in round two, and then a rematch of the grand final combatants of ’22 and ’23 at John Forbes Oval in Mitiamo on April 27.


A five-time winner of league fairest and best awards across three leagues, Robyn Cunnington brings an impressive tally of experience as coach of the A-grade team.

Cunnington’s previous coaching stints include Birchip-Watchem, Huntly, Marong, and also at inter-league level for North Central and Wimmera Mallee.

This year she will coach Marong’s A-grade and B-grade teams.

The Panthers will be determined to improve on last season’s tally of 11 wins and a draw across the home-and-away series.

Marong’s run was ended in a 49-50 loss to Mitiamo in the preliminary final.

Also on the Panthers coaching panel are Georgie McGrath and Kim McCullough, C-grade and C-reserve; Brittany Hercus, 17-and-under; Erin Stewart, 15-and-under; Bianca Bourke, 13-and-under; Lee Franklin and Kate Larkins, Minis.

The Panthers are on their courts at Malone Park for the round one showdown with Mitiamo on April 13.


Runner-up the past two seasons, Mitiamo has no shortage of motivation to reclaim number one status across the Loddon Valley.

The Jen Wilson-coached Superoos have six of the starting players in last year’s grand final back on court.

Mitiamo’s squad is also strengthened by Sarah Ludeman and Kelly Pay.

A formidable attack is led by Laura Hicks who has coached Mitiamo and is a four-time winner of the Helen Ward Medal as league fairest and best and teams up with Carly Scholes.

A talented line-up in the the blue and white includes Alicia Hay at wing attack, and Kelly Pay in mid-court.

Players to watch for the Superoos this season include Caitlyn Hocking and Amelia Ludeman.

Mitiamo’s coaching panel is Jen Wilson, A-grade; Crystal West, B-grade and C-grade; Jen Wilson, C-reserve; Shakira Viney and Asha Tuohey, 15-and-under; Amy Corry, 13-and-under; and Kate Ellis, Minis.

Mitiamo plays at Marong in the first round on April 13.

After a bye in round two, Mitiamo meets Maiden Gully YCW on April 27 at John Forbes Oval.


Eliminated in week one of last season’s finals action, Newbridge will be determined to climb higher in ’24.

The Maroons have appointed Kristy Gandy and Selina Holland as co-coaches of the A-grade team.

Among the players to watch will be goalshooter Kym Childs, wing attack Sarah McClusky, and mid-court ace Rachel Pettifer.

Newbridge’s squad also includes Jorja Hufer, goal defence; Meg Jennings, goal defence; Sarah Lovel, defence; Morgan McCormick, attack; Laura Knight, wing defence; and Hayley Martiniella, centre.

Also on Newbridge’s netball coaching panel are Rachel Pettifer, B-grade; Emma Allen, C-grade; Madi Cleeland, C-reserve; Jessica Baker, 15-and-under, and 13-and-under.

Game one of the season will be at Bridgewater on April 13.

Pyramid Hill

A run of 11 wins and a draw ensured Pyramid Hill finished the ’23 home-and-away series in fourth place.

Pyramid Hill won the elimination final against Newbridge by 23 goals, but a week later went down to Marong in the first semi by 15 goals.

The club’s coaching panel for this season is Chelsea Emmerson, A-grade; Simone Edgley, B-grade; Jordann Broad, C-grade; Sarah Luke, C-reserve; Kelly Gould and Emily Prout, 17-and-under; Jodie Fletcher and Mikayla Burge, 15-and-under; Rebecca Claddingboel, 13-and-under; Maddison Gaiter, Minis; and Marie Scott, Net Set Go.

The club’s build-up to the season includes the Community Practice Match Series being played on March 23 at Mitchell Park in Pyramid Hill.

Entry for the day is by gold coin donation and all proceeds are donated to the Pyramid Hill Fire Brigade.

Pyramid Hill treks to Serpentine on April 13 to face the Bears on their court  at Gadsden Finance Reserve in the season opener.

A testing run across the opening month for the red, white and blue includes a home game against Calivil United on April 20 at Mitchell Park, and then at Marong a week later.

Nat Dole’s predictions:

Top five – Mitiamo, Marong, Bridgewater, Maiden Gully YCW, Pyramid Hill.

Premier – Mitiamo.

Helen Ward medallist – Alicia Hay, Mitiamo.

Big improver – Bridgewater.