BY NATHAN DOLE
IT’S Friday Night Lights as Strathfieldsaye and Bendigo Thunder kick off the Champions IGA-backed Central Victoria senior women’s footy season.
Storm and Thunder will fight for premiership points from 7pm at Triple M Park in Strathfieldsaye’s Tannery Lane.
Both clubs have new coaches.
Tim McCormick is in charge as Strathfieldsaye strives to improve on last year’s win-loss tally of 4-10 and sixth placing.
Key players for Storm include Chelsea Reeves who previously played for Bendigo Thunder in the VWFL and then had a three season stint at North Bendigo.
Reeves joined Storm in 2021 and will start this match in the ruck.
Other players to watch for Strathfieldsaye include Hannah Cue at centre half-forward; rover Regeena Torney; Tracey Anderson and Caitlin Shaw in defence; and Katrina Alford at full-forward.
Bendigo Thunder has Terry Burt as coach and Hannah Perry as assistant coach and co-captain.
In 2022, Thunder marked a 9-5 run in the home-and-away series and then beat Eaglehawk by 41 points in the first semi-final.
Five nights later and Thunder’s season was done after a three-loss to eventual premier, Castlemaine in the preliminary final.
A talented team to tackle Storm includes Britney Mueck who kicked 64 goals to win last season’s goalkicking award.
Other players to watch for Thunder are co-captain and ruck-rover Shae-Lee Murphy-Burke, Brit Jackson in the centre, Jaime Sawers at full-forward, Louise Bibby and Karla Donovan in defence.
Another night game will be played on Saturday when Eaglehawk and Golden Square clash from 5.15pm at Eaglehawk’s Canterbury Park.
The Hawks have appointed Molly Metcalf and Geoff West as coaches.
In ’22 the Borough had an 8-6 run on the way to a first semi-final appearance.
The talented trio of Metcalf, Freyja Pearce and Drew Ryan tied for the club’s champion player award.
Key players for the Two Blues include Jasmine Burzacott, Grace Edlin, Chloe Green, Eliza Long, and Kelly Mensforth.
Last season’s runner-up, Golden Square has appointed Nathan Manuel as coach.
The blue and gold was beaten just twice in the run to last year’s finals and then beat Castlemaine by 34 points in the second semi.
Next time it was Castlemaine which beat Golden Square, 38-19 in the grand final played under lights at Queen Elizabeth Oval.
Best for the Square in the season decider included Ruby Campbell, Emma Gilligan, and Tegan Williams.
A talented line-up to kick off the ’23 campaign at Eaglehawk includes captain Liz Watkins, Keely Hare, Michelle McCready, Natasha Tile and Jorja Van den Berg.
Round one will be completed on Sunday afternoon when North Bendigo hosts Castlemaine at Hibo Hotel Oval in Atkins Street.
The showdown of the Bulldogs and Magpies starts at 1pm.
North Bendigo has appointed Jie Thomson as coach.
Key players for the red, white and blue include captain Aisha Mansfield, Tanika Thomson, Quetta Holloway-Jinks, Angela Iles, Maddie Jelbart, Jaydene Burzacott and Matilda Henley-Johnstone.
Co-coach in which Castlemaine marked its debut CVFL season by being premier, Jordan Cochrane steps up to sole coach of the Magpies.
Among the highlights for Castlemaine in the off-season was gun forward Shelby Knoll being drafted by Richmond in the AFLW supplementary draft.
Knoll kicked 52 goals for the Magpies last season.
There have been changes to the CVFL senior women’s league as Kyneton has joined the Riddell competition, and Kerang is not fielding a line-up.
The CVFL has welcomed Woorinen to the competition.
The Tigers start their campaign on April 30 on Bendigo Thunder’s turf at Weeroona Oval.