FOUR clubs have appointed new senior footy coaches and another has a new-look combination for the 2022 Bendigo Bank Heathcote District Football Netball League season.
New to the league’s coaching ranks will be Tim Bannan at Leitchville-Gunbower, and Andrew Saladino at Heathcote.
A dual premiership-winning coach at North Bendigo, Rob Bennett returns to the Bulldogs.
White Hills has appointed talented half-back flanker Jack Fallon to lead the Demons.
A new-look panel at Elmore will be athletic ruckman/forward Dylan Gordon as co-coach to join Dylan Friedberger who will be in his second year with the Bloods.
Unbeaten in 2021, Lockington-Bamawm United will again be led by Brodie Collins.
Mount Pleasant has re-appointed Darren Walsh and Adam Baird as co-coaches. It will be Walsh in a non-playing role and Baird as a key playmaker for the Blues.
Stacy Fiske stays on to coach the Huntly Hawks.
Runners-up in 2019 and second when the 2021 season was called off because of Covid, Colbinabbin coach Julian Bull has already gained several recruits for a new season.
One of the most daunting challenges will be for Bannan at Leitchville-Gunbower.
The Bombers have fielded young teams the past two seasons and will be aiming to be more competitive in 2022 and beyond.
Saladino previously played for Heathcote and also for the Bendigo Pioneers in the TAC Cup, now NAB Cup.
He takes charge of the Saints after the departure of Wayne Primmer from the role.
A huge coup for Heathcote was the classy Codie Price, a premiership-winning player with the Primmer-coached Sandhurst in 2016, deciding to stay at the club.
Newcomers to the Saints include Liam Birch, Bill Direen and Connor Hamilton from Wallan.
At Elmore, Darcy Laffy returns to the Bloods after playing with Benalla.
The Bloods have also signed Kyle Armstrong and Shaun Haffenden.
After a flying start to the season in which it had a 6-1 record and was second on the ladder, White Hills finished with a 9-4 record to be fourth.
A premiership-winner with Eaglehawk in 2016, Jack Fallon was assistant coach to Sam Kerridge at White Hills last season.
The Demons face a huge challenge replacing Kerridge’s skill and on-field leadership and gun goalkicker Jed Lamb.
A tally of 58 goals put Lamb on top of the goalkicking ladder this year.
After four seasons in charge, which included the 2019 grand final victory, Matt Dillon has stepped down as North Bendigo coach.
The Bulldogs welcome back ‘Bomber’ Bennett, who coached the premiership winning years of 2015 and ’16.
North Bendigo marked a 9-3 record last season to be third.
Bennett’s been busy on the recruiting front as North Bendigo welcomes back Callum Tardrew and Nick Waterson, and has signed Beau Cross and Jesse Evans.
A key recruit at Colbinabbin is Jimmy McMurtrie, while those to have re-signed with the Grasshoppers include Ben Barton, Jed Brain, Laine and Logan Fitzgerald, and Stephen Tuohey.
After a 7-5 record and fourth place this year, Mount Pleasant has bolstered it’s line-up significantly with the recruitment of Sandhurst premiership ruckman Chris Down.
The Blues also welcome Zac Featherby from Sandhurst, and Will Wallace who played for Strathfieldsaye Storm and Bendigo Pioneers.
Most of LBU’s dominant line-up of 2021 will play on for the Cats.
A formidable team included ruckman Tyler Phillips who won the Sam Cheatley Medal as the league’s fairest and best.
Other key players for LBU include Jarod Bacon, Jesse and Lachlan Collins, Thomas Leech, Ben McPhee and Rhys Woodland.
At Huntly, Stacy Fiske will be aiming to build on this season’s record of 5-8.
The Fiske-coached Hawks did contest the 2013 grand final in what was his second year in charge.
Signings for Huntly include Jye Moon from Eaglehawk, Tori Ferguson and Luke Gray from Maiden Gully YCW, and Travis Mercadante returns to the Hawks’ nest after a stint with the Maiden Gully YCW Eagles.
Written by Nathan Dole.