THERE are plenty of quality ruckmen who will compete across the Bendigo Bank Heathcote District FNL senior footy action next season.

Mount Pleasant’s Chris Down, LBU’s Tyler Phillips, and Leitchville Gunbower’s Jobee Warde will face some new opponents.

Among those determined to have an impact will be James Orr who has crossed from Kyneton to Heathcote, and White Hills recruits Callum Crisp and Jack Lawton.

The league newcomers will take on the likes of North Bendigo’s Jeremy Lambden, and Elmore’s Daniel Russell.

For the first time in 18 years years, Mount Pleasant will chase back-to-back premierships.

There’s been significant change at Toolleen since the Blues capped an incredible run from the elimination final to beat Heathcote in last September’s grand final.

Joint coaches of the Blues, Adam Baird and Ben Weightman have gone, along with director of coaching Darren Walsh.

Mounts has turned to Cam Carter, premiership winning coach of 2005 and ’06 to lead the club once again.

The Blues have retained more than 80 per cent of the grand final winning line-up, but will be without key defender William Wallace who has joined Sandhurst.

Recruits for Mounts include Dylan Barber and Daniel Dempster from Kangaroo Flat.

They join the likes of Bryce Hinneberg, Riley McNamara, Zebb Murrell, Mitch Rovers, Caelan Smith, Bailey and Fletcher White, Daniel and Michael Whiting in the fight to stay as the league’s number one team.

Runner-up this season, Heathcote has added some height and marking power.

Among those heading to Pigeon Park in Barrack Reserve will be top ruckman James Orr who was captain of Kyneton.

The Andrew Saladino-coached Saints have bolstered their defence by signing Daniel Johnstone from South Bendigo.

Brilliant midfielder Zak Saad from Rupertswood, and key forward Cooper Webber-Mirkin from Trentham are capable of having a major impact.

The Saints retain gun forward Corey Grindlay, captain Codie Price, versatile on-baller Braden Padmore, and Sam Cheatley medallist and gun on-baller Liam Jacques.

Inaccuracy in both finals cost White Hills a chance to make the season decider at Huntly’s Strauch Reserve.

The Demons will be coached by Jack Fallon for a third season, and have promoted brilliant forward Kaiden Antonowicz to the co-coaching role.

Athleticism of Callum Crisp and the height of Jack Lawton will be a huge plus for White Hills, whether it be in the ruck, attack, or helping out in defence.

Crisp joins the Demons after playing for Noosa Tigers in ’23 and playing a key role for South Bendigo in 2018 and ’19.

Lawton brings plenty of experience from his time at Eaglehawk.

Brady Childs has retired and Bayden Fallon will play for Mooroopna.

Key players for the red and black include Tom Brereton, Mitch Dole, Patrick Eefting, Rhys Irwin, Jake Pallpratt and Nick Warnock.

Stung by consecutive finals defeats, North Bendigo was also active on the recruiting front.

Triple premiership player Tyson Findlay returns to the Bulldogs after a coaching stint with Cohuna Kangas.

A Cheatley medallist, Findlay’s skill and workrate will be a huge plus for the Bulldogs.

The defence will be strengthened by Hamish McCartney, captain of Maiden Gully YCW last season.

Also at Hibo Hotel Oval in Atkins Street will be small forward Sam Barnes from Kangaroo Flat, Bailey Cain and Jake Dean.

After a brilliant run to reach the elimination final, Leitchville Gunbower looms as a huge challenger for this season’s top three.

The Shannon Keam-coached Bombers welcome back dual premiership player Brady Hore after stints with Strathfieldsaye and Birchip Watchem.

Also back at the club will be Charlie Hancock after playing for Shepparton Bears and University Blues, and Blake Dye from Geelong West Giants.

The Bombers have signed Brad Green from Yarraville, and Fraser Buchanan.

After falling from premiers to the sixth rung, Lockington Bamawm United has a point to prove.

The Stacy Fiske-coached Cats have signed Elijah Bruns, a midfielder from Echuca, and regain Matt Hore who has spent the past two seasons at Picola and also had a one-year stint with South Bendigo.

LBU’s attack will include Stuart Taylor who has starred for Moama the past two years.

Also on his way to Nichol Trading Oval is Jayden Howe, coach of Echuca’s under-18s premiership team of 2023.

Key players for the Cats include Brodie and Jesse Collins, Jacob Gardiner and Ben Holman.

A stint with Wanderers in the Northern Territory premier league means Max Johnson will be even fitter lining up for his second season with LBU.

Colbinabbin kicks off its season by playing Elmore under the lights at M.J. Morgan Oval in Colbabbin on April 6.

The Jed Brain-coached Grasshoppers have gained midfielder Nathan Basile from Mooroopna to join his brother, Adian in the green and gold.

Jordy Wilson returns to Colbinabbin and will be joined by another newcomer in Patrick Taban.

Key players for the Hoppers include ’23 team champion Ben Barton, along with Logan and Laine Fitzgerald, Luke Moore and Dave Price.

The return of James Harney from Echuca United is a huge plus for the Mick Woolhouse-coached Elmore in what will be the club’s 150th year.

A two-year stint by Harney with Echuca United included 102 goals last season.

Other recruits for the Bloods include midfielder Connor Walsh and Nick Mayne from Banyule, and key defender Cobi Fitzpatrick from Charlton.

Best for the Bloods in ’23 included Rhys Holmberg, Nathan Kay, Zac Laffy, Jack Cairns and Jack Trewick.

The Huntly Hawks have appointed Hamish Morcom, a triple premiership winner at Golden Square, as senior coach.

Morcom takes charge after the run by Harry Whittle and Jayden Cordy.

A huge plus for the Hawks is Whittle staying on.

Huntly’s midfield will be strengthened by the arrival of Dale Lowry who played in the 2012 and ’13 premiership wins for Golden Square.