LVFNL season preview: Pyramid Hill

Pyramid Hill's Trent Barri.
Pyramid Hill's Trent Barri.

PYRAMID HILL FOOTBALL

COACH: Brad Fawcett (2nd year) and Gavin James (1st year)

LAST YEAR: Fifth. 

ARRIVALS

Gavin James, Ross James, Matt Klein-Bretler, Joseph McGrath, Ryan Watson, Jack Woodward, Adrian McErvale, Alex Harper.

DEPARTURES

Michael Callinan, Daniel Price

THE BASICS

Sportsbet flag odds: $3

Player points: 48

FIRST MONTH

R1 v Newbridge (a)

R2 v Bridgewater (h)

R3 v Marong (a)

R4 v BL-Serpentine (h)

LAST FIVE YEARS

2016: Fourth

2015: Fourth

2014: Third

2013: Third

2012: Third

SUMMARY

While Michael Callinan and Daniel Price were instrumental to Pyramid Hill’s game plan last year, the Bulldogs have recruited strongly.

The majority of their key recruits, including new co-coach Gavin James, come from higher-rated leagues.

Adrian McErvale and Matt Klein-Bretler bring BFNL premiership experience with them, while Joe McGrath was a key player in Charlton’s premiership success in the NCFL last year.

McGrath, who kicked 99 goals in the past two seasons with Charlton, looks set to have a major impact forward of centre for Pyramid Hill this year.

“Our main priority was to bring in people that were good characters, so that we can build a good culture around the club,’’ co-coach Brad Fawcett said.

“The players we’ve recruited can play good footy, but more importantly they’re good characters as well.

“Everything looks good for us so far.”

Pyramid Hill co-coach Brad Fawcett.

Pyramid Hill co-coach Brad Fawcett.

Q & A with Brad Fawcett

Q: Price and Callinan are major omissions, but overall you’d have to be happy with your work off-season?

The depth of the squad should be a lot better this season. We’re hoping we can cover injuries and unavailabilities a bit better than we did last year.

Hopefully, the footy gods smile on us a bit and we get a change of luck with the injuries.

The other part is the group has another 12 months of playing together under their belt and there should be some natural improvement.

Throw in the quality players that we’ve added to the group and we think we have the chance to move up the ladder.

PYRAMID HILL NETBALL

COACH: Deb Forster (second year)

LAST YEAR: Sixth

ARRIVALS

Gemma Scott (returning from a year off); Deb Scott (returning from a year off); Abbey Dingwall (returning from Leitchville-Gunbower).

DEPARTURES

No player losses.

COACHING PANEL

B-grade: Deb Forster

C-grade Chelsea Emmerson

C-reserve: Sonia McCahon and Emma James

17-and-under: Emily Prout

15-and-under: Karlee Gilmore

LAST THREE YEARS

2016: Sixth

2015: Premiers

2014: Fourth

SUMMARY

WHAT a difference 12 months makes.

This time last year Pyramid Hill was without a coach and wondering whether it would be able to field an A-grade team.

The Bulldogs not only managed to piece together a team, but were highly competitive in winning six games to finish as the best placed team outside the five.

There's no such problems this season, with the Bulldogs not only managing to retain all its senior players, but regaining a trio of quality performers in Gemma and Deb Scott and former league Rising Star award winner Abbey Dingwall.

Their inclusion, together with a more settled pre-season, should be enough to have the Bulldogs contending once more for a finals berth.

Second year coach Deb Forster, who took the job on at the last minute in 2016, said she had been encouraged by her girls for in a practice match against Macorna Tigers.

The Bulldogs will play one more lead-up game against Murrabit before their season opener against Newbridge.

Forster said the first-up match against the reigning premiers would give her side a good indication of where they stood.

Abbey Dingwall

Abbey Dingwall

Q & A with Deb Forster

Q.I imagine after the uncertainty last pre-season, you would be very much looking forward to this season?

We finished sixth, but that was about where we expected to be with the team we had, so I thought we did pretty well. But things are looking a lot better this season. I guess I'm starting a lot earlier than I did last year - I only took the job on the week before started last year and we didn't really have the players. Now we have heaps.

Q. With three A-grade players returning, you must be content with how things are now at the club?

We're looking good with a couple of new payers and couple coming back from having babies (Deb and Gemma Scott). Our lower grades looking pretty strong as well.