Two of league’s best clash on Gisborne court
THE A-grade netball showdown between Gisborne and Sandhurst will be a highlight of this Saturday’s start to the Bendigo Bank Bendigo Football Netball League season.
It’s the red, white and blue up against the maroon and blue on Gisborne’s court at Gardiner Reserve.
Both clubs were to the fore in what was a shortened 2021 season because of Covid.
The Tarryn Rymer-coached Gisborne has gained two quality recruits to join a strong squad.
Newcomers for the Bulldogs are Kirby Elliott, a goal defence from Riddell; and Claudia Mawson, goal attack for Melbourne Uni. Lightning and the Melbourne Vixens Academy.
Other key players for Gisborne include Holly Doricic, Polly Salter; 2018 Betty Thompson medallist as Bendigo FNL fairest and best Maddy Stewart; and dual Betty Thompson medallist Tiana Newman.
The Tamara Gilchrist-coached Sandhurst will be aiming to continue its premiership-winning streak.
Sandhurst was A-grade champions from 2017 to ’19.
A formidable line-up includes Imogen Sexton in defence, Ruby Turner, Sophie Shoebridge, Meg Williams at wing attack; Kelsey Meade and Bec Smith in attack.
Castlemaine marks a long-awaited return to A-grade netball.
The Magpies have not featured in the top flight since 2017.
A hectic recruiting campaign has netted many quality players to Camp Reserve.
Fiona Fowler and Gary Cooke will be co-coaches of Castlemaine.
Players to watch for the Pies include Kelsie Rainbow, Mikaela Vaughan in attack, and Maddie Carter.
The Magpies have also gained mid-courter Emma Webb, a Betty Thompson medallist when at Kyneton in 2014; and also Hepburn’s Jane O’Donohoue to play in attack.
Kyneton will be determined to play well.
Newcomers for the Dianne Guest-Oakley coached Tigers are Sarah Hustwaite and Tilly Shepherd.
Key players for the yellow and black include Brooke, Rachelle and Jess Mangan; goalshooter Michelle Fletcher, and Lauren Anglin, last year’s A-reserve club champion.
South Bendigo takes on Golden Square at Queen Elizabeth Oval.
The Jannelle Hobbs-coached Bloods have added plenty of experience in Jamie-Lee Clohesy and Alicia McGlashan, who were premiership winners at Kangaroo Flat.
Other newcomers at South Bendigo are Chloe Gray from Wallan, Claudia Griffiths and Olivia Mason.
Bloods’ captain Stephanie Goode will again play a key role in defence, while the form of Keiarah Brooks in mid-court, Mason and Chloe Langley in attack, and talented youngster Ella Flavell will have a major bearing on the team’s fortunes.
The Benita Swatton-coached Golden Square also has several new faces.
Former Newbridge coach Rachel Pettifer has joined the blue and gold, as has goalshooter Jane Reid, who also previously coached Newbridge in the Loddon Valley FNL.
Other players to watch for Golden Square include mid-courter Maddie Alvino from Mildura Imperials; Lana Marsh from Rochester; Lucy Palmer from Cohuna Kangas; and Laura Scott from Shepparton.
The experience Jayne Boldiston brings is another big plus for the Golden Square squad.
Swatton will again look for Maddy Keighran, Abbey Clohesy and Cass Humphrey to build on their fine form of the 2021 season.
Strathfieldsaye Storm faces Eaglehawk at Tannery Lane.
The Steph Freemantle-coached Storm has added defender Emmie Banfield, Eve Crowe, wing attack or goaler Keeley Jones, Lucy Spalding and Brylee Wilson to the squad.
Other key players for Storm include goalshooter Eliza Hynes, Ava Hamilton at goal attack, and Makayla Dole in defence.
It’s a joint coaching team for Eaglehawk as Elley Lawton and Eleisha Saunders join forces at the Two Blues.
Newcomers for the Hawks are former South Bendigo player Jessie Cliff, Inglewood’s Charlotte Edlin, and Mia McCrann-Peters.
Lawton will again be a pivotal player in the Hawks defence, while Gracie Berryman, Arriah Keogh and Morgan Keating are other key players.
The Hawks will be without Abby and Ash Gilmore.
Kangaroo Flat takes on Maryborough at Dower Park.
The Jayden Cowling-coached Roos have all of last year’s A-grade team raring to go, and have added Lou Dupuy who previously played for Golden Square and has joined the Flat after a successful stint at Colbinabbin.
A powerful attack will be led by Abbey Ryan and Lou Dupuy, while centre Chelsea Sartori and defender Carly Van Den Heuvel are two of the league’s best.
The Alicia Cassidy-coached Maryborough faces a tough test first-up.
Recruits for the Magpies include mid-courter Tori Chandler, and defender Eliza Roughead.
Maryborough will also be rapt to have the class and versatility of Jordan Macilwain back on court.
Written by Nathan Dole.