SANDHURST’S run toward a fourth consecutive A-grade netball premiership starts on Good Friday as the Bendigo Bank Bendigo Football Netball League competition resumes at Tannery Lane.
A powerful Sandhurst line-up will start favourite to take the points on Storm’s court in Strathfieldsaye.
It’s stand-alone games between Storm and the Dragons brought forward from round two.
These clubs last met on June 29, 2019 where Sandhurst won a hard-fought round 11 match at Strathfieldsaye, 29-21.
It was a significant fightback from Storm after Sandhurst scored a 72-34 victory in the round two clash on the QEO court.
A seven-goal victory in the 2019 grand final against Kangaroo Flat clinched a premiership hat-trick for Sandhurst.
The Tamara Gilchrist-coached team will be determined to make a winning start to this campaign.
Classy goal attack Kelsey Meade will be back on court to join forces with Bec Smith.
There was plenty of supply from a brilliant mid-court in the club’s successful run in 2017 and ’18.
Lining up for a fifth year as coach, Gilchrist believes the pressure from the youngsters to have a mark on every game and the hunger of the more experienced players are keys to Sandhurst’s success.
Among those to step up to A-grade will be Ruby Turner, a member of Victoria’s 19-under squad.
First-year coach Steph Freemantle faces a daunting task.
The club’s best and fairest in the 2019 season where Storm finished sixth, Freemantle will be keen to mark a finals campaign.
A major coup for Strathfieldsaye was signing the athletic Eliza Hynes.
Hynes played volleyball at international level, played AFLW with Collingwood from 2018 to ’20, and was a state representative in netball at junior level.
Her ability to play in attack or defence is a massive bonus for Storm.
The club has also gained Ellie Lothian from Kangaroo Flat and Makayle Dole from Golden Square.
Both will be keen to have an impact for the blue and white.
Round one matches on April 10 feature the big game between Eaglehawk and Kangaroo Flat at Canterbury Park.
Gisborne plays Strathfieldsaye at Gardiner Reserve.
Sandhurst and Maryborough meet at Queen Elizabeth Oval.
Kyneton and Golden Square clash at Kyneton Showgrounds.
Castlemaine and South Bendigo will play in the lower grades, but it’s a bye for the Bloods’ A-grade team.
Written by Nathan Dole