THIS weekend’s BFNL A-grade grand final rematch against Sandhurst looks on paper a vastly different matchup, but Golden Square remains confident it can be competitive despite some big name losses.
The Bulldogs are down Gabe Richards, midcourters Kelly and Andrea Wilson and defender Allira Holmes from last year’s side that lost to the Dragons in the decider.
But with a talented group pushing through including Mikayle Dole and Delaynie Caldwell, Square hopes it can get youngsters to step into the gaps vacated by its experienced stars.
Sandhurst, meanwhile, heads into round one of this year largely unchanged.
Co-coach Heather Oliver said at Monday’s BFNL season launch that her side is well placed an will be better for another year of continuity within the group.
“We have the likes of Imogen Sexton and Meg Williams who are still teenagers and have improvement in them so that will be really good for us as a group,” she said.
Several sides have new faces at the helm this season, including Gisborne with new coach Kim Bailey.
They return the same squad as 2017 and will hope that gun defender Maddy Stewart and young stars Holly Doricic and Melinda Luke can continue their improvement.
The Bulldogs host Kangaroo Flat in round one, the Roos to be led by Jaydon Cowling this season.
Cowling is an Australian men’s netball representative and will lead the club’s A-grade squad having coached lower grades in previous seasons.
Former Kangaroo Flat coach Janelle Hobbs has crossed to South Bendigo and is confident the Bloods can continue to improve their netball program.
The Bloods have the bye in round one, with opening opponent Kyneton one of two clubs not fielding an A-grade side, along with Castlemaine. Maryborough also has a round one bye.
Eaglehawk has continued its push up the netball ladder and is eyeing a return to finals with its talented squad under Mali Roberts.
The Hawks take on Strathfieldsaye, which has seen several players depart in the offseason.