EAGLEHAWK faces a massive test in Saturday’s A-grade netball clash with Bendigo Bank Bendigo Football Netball League rival Kangaroo Flat.
The Hawks and Roos will play under the lights at the Canterbury Park court from 5pm.
For the Ryan sisters, Ashley and Abbey it’s a return to a court know they well, but this time as opponents, not Eaglehawk team-mates.
Runner-up in 2019, the Jayden Cowling-coached Kangaroo Flat has also gained Carly Van Den Heuvel from Sandhurst.
Other players to watch for the Roos include Chelsea Sartori, Annie Spear, Ella and Milly Wicks.
The Hawks were also busy on the recruiting front.
The return of Abby Gilmore is a huge plus for the club.
Eaglehawk’s attack will be led by the Gilmore sisters, Abby and Ash.
The Gayle Annan-coached Eaglehawk also has the talented Bree Heiden who has crossed from Golden Square, and Morgan Keating from Wandella.
A lot has changed at both clubs since Kangaroo Flat beat Eaglehawk in the 2019 preliminary final by 12 goals.
Both teams are likely to be on or near the top of the ladder once again.
First of the A-grade netball matches on Saturday will be at 11.30am when Sandhurst plays Maryborough at Queen Elizabeth Oval.
Sandhurst withstood a spirited challenge from Strathfieldsaye to win the Good Friday match.
The maroon and blue will start favourite to chalk up consecutive wins.
Maryborough will be coached by Alicia Cassidy, a Betty Thompson medallist as league best and fairest and the BFNL’s games record-holder.
Now in a non-playing role, Cassidy is in charge of a young squad determined to improve on its eighth place of the 2019 season.
Players to watch for the Magpies include Keely Hare in attack, Jordan MacIlwain, Bella Westbrook, Ella and Maggie Tranter.
Gisborne takes on Strathfieldsaye at Gardiner Reserve.
A strong Gisborne line-up includes Tiana Newman and Maddy Stewart, both have won the Betty Thompson medal.
The Tarryn Rymer-coached teamin red, white and blue will again have Clare Vearing as a key target in attack.
Storm worked hard in its showdown with the highly-rated Sandhurst.
Although beaten, there were plenty of positive signs for coach Steph Freemantle and the Storm girls.
Kyneton hosts Golden Square at Kyneton Showgrounds from 6pm.
The Tigers were a strong challenger for a top-five berth in the 2019 season.
Tylah Marchbank takes charge as coach of an A-grade team led by Michelle Fletcher in attack, Ash Feehan and Steph Penning in defence, and the talented Mangan sisters – Brooke, Jessica and Rachelle.
After a winless run in 2019, Golden Square will be desperate for success.
Benita Swatton is the new A-grade coach and will look for Kristen Wilson, Maddy Keighran and Casey Livingstone to show the way for their young team-mates.
Castlemaine is not fielding an A-grade team, so South Bendigo has to wait until the April 17 match against Eaglehawk at Queen Elizabeth Oval.
The Magpies and Bloods will contest the lower grades of netball at Camp Reserve.
The A-reserve match starts at 2pm.
Written by Nathan Dole