LVFNL season preview: Mitiamo

Mitiamo coach Justin Maddern.

Mitiamo coach Justin Maddern.

Related – BL-Serpentine season preview

Related – Bridgewater season preview

Related – Calivil United season preview

Related – Inglewood season preview

MITIAMO FOOTBALL

Coach: Justin Maddern (2nd year)

Last year: Second. 

ARRIVALS

Luke Scott, Shannon Coffey, Ash Benbow, Toby Cocks, Jarryd Wiegard, Matt Wiegard, Isaac Matheson, Nick Farley, Ben Hughes, Stephen Madden.

DEPARTURES

Doug Thomas, James Drake, Tyson Sidebottom, Jack Vinnecombe.

THE BASICS

Sportsbet flag odds: $4.50

Player points: 46

FIRST MONTH

R1 v Calivil United (a)

R2 v Newbridge (h)

R3 v Bridgewater (a)

R4 v Marong (h)

PAST FIVE YEARS

2016: Second

2015: Second

2014: Seventh

2013: Eighth

2012: Eighth

SUMMARY

Mitiamo's Kyle Patten.

Mitiamo's Kyle Patten.

When you lose to the same team seven times from seven games in two years by an average margin of 47 points, something has to change.

After two consecutive grand final defeats to Bridgewater, Mitiamo has changed its philosophy leading into 2017.

Superoos coach Justin Maddern openly admits his side didn’t have the depth to match Bridgewater last year and has recruited accordingly.

High-profile players Tyson Sidebottom, Doug Thomas and James Drake are gone and, instead of trying to replace them with three stars, Maddern has spread his recruiting net wide in a bid to improve the club’s depth.

Former Kangaroo Flat trio Jarryd Wiegard, Matt Wiegard and Ash Benbow give the Superoos a mix of BFNL experience and flexibility to play in multiple positions.

Toby Cocks is a versatile defender from the Hampden league, Isaac Matheson is a young midfielder from Tasmania who has moved to Bendigo for study, Shannon Coffey is a wingman/half-back flanker and Ben Hughes is a clever small forward.

The recruit with the highest profile is Luke Scott, who makes his way to Mitiamo after a great career with the Western Magpies in AFL Queensland. Maddern said Scott will be the Superoos “swingman”.

“He is a genuine utility… he can play anywhere. That gives us some more flexibility and we can just play Luke in a spot where we’re struggling.”

The Superoos mightn’t have as many top shelf players in 2017, but they’re hoping a more even side can close the gap on Bridgewater.

Q and A with Justin Maddern

Q: James Drake, Tyson Sidebottom and Doug Thomas are massive omissions for the Superoos, but it appears you’ve covered their departures as well as you could have hoped. How is the list shaping up?

Drake, Sidebottom and Thomas are great footballers and will be missed, but everyone at the club knew last year that we were top heavy and that we didn’t have enough depth.

We got a few few injuries late in the year and that hurt us. We probably played five or six guys in the grand final that shouldn’t have played.

Once we found out that Drake, Sidebottom and Thomas were moving on we thought it would be a good time for us to get more depth into the club.

A lot of them are younger players as well which is exciting for us. They’re just starting their senior careers and, hopefully, we can keep them at Mitiamo for a long time.

MITIAMO NETBALL

Coach: Jenny Clohesy (2nd year)

Last year: Second

ARRIVALS

To be confirmed, with several new players training with the club.

DEPARTURES

Bree Maddern

LAST THREE YEARS

2016: Second

2015: Sixth

2014: Third

SUMMARY

Mitiamo wing attach Gabrielle Marlow.

Mitiamo wing attach Gabrielle Marlow.

IT will be steady as she goes for perennial Loddon Valley league powerhouse as the Superoos attempt to go one better than last season's runner-up finish.

Coach Jenny Clohesy returns for her second year at the helm and will guide largely the same, athletic squad which fell a couple of goals shy of Newbridge on grand final day last year.

The notable exception is Bree Maddern, who won't be taking to the court in 2017, but will still be involved at the club.

The Superoos boast strength right across the court, led by star goal attack Laura Hicks, midcourters Amelia Ludeman and Gabrielle Marlow and defender Julia Twigg.

Clohesy said the club had picked up a few new players, whose credentials and strength would be gauged during two mid-week practice matches this week, including against Sandhurst on Thursday.

"Those games will give us an opportunity to look at a few different players and match-ups and where they can slot in" she said.

Mitiamo will not have to wait long to have a crack at last season’s grand final nemesis, with a clash against Newbridge to follow its season opener against Calivil United.

Q & A with Jenny Clohesy

Q. Will last season's grand final loss be used as motivation during the up-coming season?

Not really. Life goes on - the sun does come up the next day. We probably haven't had as an intense lead-up to the season as last year, so hopefully that's the change-up we need. The season has rolled around pretty quickly.

Q. Are you expecting improvement from some of your rivals?

I haven't seen them on the court, but I know Bears Lagoon-Serpentine have picked up Cara (Bastian), so you would expect improvement there. It would be great for the league to see other teams improve as well. The more even the competition, the better is for everyone.

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