Dogs lead netball charge

Joel Peterson | Bendigo Weekly | 15-Apr-2016

Strathfieldsaye's Brianna Dalrymple-Monro

AFTER an undefeated season saw it take out the 2015 BFNL A-grade netball premiership, Golden Square is looking over its shoulder at a long line of contenders this season.

Despite going unbeaten, Square had plenty of competitive outings last year, and coach Lia Marrone and her Bulldogs can expect more of the same right from the get-go against Kangaroo Flat on Saturday.

Square has lost standout midcourter Allira Hammond, but with enviable depth in its A-reserve side and a talented crop of young players including Abbey and Ash Ryan, the Dogs remain the side to beat.

“We are looking pretty strong, while we’ve lost a couple of players we do have depth throughout the grades so we have drawn up from those teams and I’m pretty confident we’ll be strong again this year,” Marrone said at  Monday’s BFNL launch.

Flat lost the likes of Rachel McKenzie, Ashley Bradley and Lauren Bowles in the offseason, but have regained former Betty Thomson Medal runner-up Alicia McGlashan among several recruits.

“We have brought some of our young juniors like Millie Wicks and Ruby Barkmeyer up and we have Alicia back which is a huge bonus for us,” Flat coach Janelle Hobbs said.

Strathfieldsaye meets Sandhurst in round one, with both sides set for strong years.

The Storm should be well placed, having recruited for depth after a first finals appearance last year.

Sandhurst has added Gemma Cusack into its mix, while a host of young talent including Brooke Bolton is set to step up.

“I think our style of play will be a little different to last year, we’ll be a bit more versatile with some different combinations throughout the court,” reigning Betty Thompson medallist and Sandhurst defender Heather Oliver said.

Another big challenger to Square’s throne will be Gisborne, which has thrown down the gauntlet with its recruiting and takes on Kyneton on Saturday.

McKenzie crossed from Flat to Gardiner Reserve to shore up the Dogs’ attack and allow star Maddy Stewart to play either end of the court, while dynamic midcourter Maddy Gay also joins the club but will miss round one.

Kyneton has retained the better part of its list, and again looks to be in finals contention, but its first outing against the Dogs will be a tough first-up test.

Maryborough has recruited former Dunolly coach Ash Lierich to bolster its lineup alongside Ingrid Hopkins, Jordan Macilwain and Alicia Cassidy and should challenge for finals.

Its round one opponent, Castlemaine, looks set to struggle with low numbers not helping the Magpies’ cause.

In the round’s other game, South Bendigo and Eaglehawk meet at the Queen Elizabeth Oval.

South has a new coach in Benita Swatton and is rebuilding through youth while the Borough should be competitive after bolstering its roster.


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