LVFNL season preview: Inglewood

Inglewood ruckman Cody West looks set for a big year.

Inglewood ruckman Cody West looks set for a big year.

INGLEWOOD FOOTBALL

Coaches: Ryan McNish and Jon Starr

Last year: Seventh.

ARRIVALS

Ryan McNish, Nathan McNish, Daniel Lloyd, Rees May, Tom May, Nathan Philpotts, Ben Smith, Tristan Ward, Ben O’Sullivan, Cody Bravo.

DEPARURES

Craig Crichton, Jake Allport, Mick Delaney, Robert Binks, Logan Popple.

THE BASICS

Sportsbet flag odds: $21

Player points: 48

FIRST MONTH

R1 v YCW (h)

R2 v Calivil United (h)

R3 v Newbridge (a)

R4 v Bridgewater (h)

SUMMARY

One win in 2015 to five wins in 2016, the Inglewood Blues showed they’re rebuild was on the right track.

The Blues haven’t played finals since 2003, but new co-coach Ryan McNish is confident Inglewood can be knocking on the door of the top five this year.

McNish, who returns to his home club as co-coach with Jon Starr after playing with Kangaroo Flat in the BFNL, headlines a long list of recruits that will bolster the club’s depth.

Daniel Lloyd is playing assistant coach, Tom and Rees May can play across half-back or through the middle, former Elmore player Ben Smith will add some spark to the midfield and Ben O’Sullivan and the returning Cody Bravo will give the Blues two more forward options.

More depth in the senior playing stocks should help the Blues become more consistent in 2017.

Last year they lost to Calivil by just two points and defeated higher-rated teams Newbridge and Marong, but also lost to YCW and suffered a few heavy losses.

The first month will be telling for the Blues. 

If they can start at least 2-2 they’ll deserve to be considered a genuine finals contender.

Ryan McNish

Ryan McNish

Q & A with Ryan McNish

Q: Are you happy with where the club is at leading into the round one clash with YCW?

From when I first arrived at the club back in November I’ve been really impressed with the way the boys have taken to what we’re trying to implement.

The boys want to succeed and bring the club back to the finals after so many years at the bottom of the ladder.

Time will tell how far we can go, but at this stage all the signs are positive that we’ll have a good year.

Q: How do you close the gap between your best and worst?

We need to capture some consistency. We need to limit those lapses we had last year. If we can do that it will take us a long way to playing finals this year.

INGLEWOOD NETBALL

Coach: Lizzie Wiggins

Last year: Ninth

ARRIVALS

Lizzie Wiggins (Strathfieldsaye); Taylor Forster (St Arnaud);  Paige Torney (St Arnaud),Chelsea Hicks (Calvil United).

DEPARTURES

LAST THREE YEARS

2016: Ninth

2015: Eighth

2014: Ninth

Inglewood goal attack Eloise Murray.

Inglewood goal attack Eloise Murray.

SUMMARY

​Small steps will be in-coming coach Lizzie Wiggins' blueprint for improvement on the netball court at Inglewood.

The former YCW stalwart, who spent last season with Bendigo league club Strathfieldsaye, takes charge of a Blues team which has not finished about eighth in the last three seasons.

But there is plenty of cause for optimism at Inglewood Recreation Reserve.

The Blues, unlike past seasons, have not suffered significant player losses and have benefited from some notable inclusions, including their coach.

While it will take time, Inglewood is hoping for bright things from some of last season's premiership crop of 17-and-under players.

One of those, Charlotte Edlin will make the immediate step up to A-grade.

Wiggins was confident Edlin, a multi-talented sportswoman who also plays football and soccer, would quickly adapt to A-grade netball.

"It's a different ball game in A-grade, but she's incredibly fit athlete, very strong and good at what she does, and very quick," she said.

Wiggins won’t have to wait long to face her former side, with the Blues set to face YCW in round one at Inglewood.

Q & A with Lizzie Wiggins

Q. How are you feeling approaching your first season at Inglewood?

We haven't had a lot of success in the last few years, so we are definitely rebuilding. We are actually liking what we are seeing so far. We are not  going to be world beaters at this stage because we are rebuilding, but we are moving in the right direction. I am confident we will do better this season. Whether that translates to wins I don't know, but we'll certainly be more competitive.

Q. What will be the biggest challenge facing you this season?

Learning how to win. Because they haven't had much success, that's the hardest hurdle to get over. But winning will build confidence.

Related: Bridgewater season preview

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