HDFNL season preview: Lockington-Bamawm United

Lockington-Bamawm United coach Peter Gibbs.
Lockington-Bamawm United coach Peter Gibbs.

LOCKINGTON-BAMAWM UNITED FOOTBALL

COACH: Peter Gibbs (2nd year)

LAST YEAR: Ninth

ARRIVALS

Daniel Cemino, Xavier Kelly, Jarrod Ludbey, Daniel Maher, Jack Millen, Hayden Mitchell, Kahl Oliver, Simon Stewart, Harry Walker, Jacob Johnson, Cal Buchanan, Jordan Brown

DEPARTURES

Rhys Woodland, Mick Dobson, Jeremy Mundie, Sam Neale

THE BASICS

Sportsbet flag odds: $21

Player points: 46

FIRST MONTH

R1: v Mt Pleasant (a)

R2: v Elmore (h)

R3: v Heathcote (a)

R4: v Huntly (h)

PAST FIVE YEARS

2016: Ninth

2015: Eighth

2014: First

2013: First

2012: First

SUMMARY

After two rebuilding seasons, the Lockington-Bamawm United Cats are ready to make a move up the ladder in 2017.

After having no depth in their senior squad in 2016, the Cats look much stronger in 2017.

The Cats have lost club great Mick Dobson (retired), Rhys Woodland (Picola) and Jeremy Mundie (Rochester), but their inclusions are creating plenty of interest.

Premiership stars Liam Main and Kahl Oliver have returned to the club. While Oliver’s availability is still to be determined, Main gives the cats some much-needed strength and experience.

Xavier Kelly, Hayden Mitchell, Jordan Brown, Harry Walker and Jack Millen have joined the Cats after playing in a premiership with Watsonia in the Northern Football League Melbourne.

Small forward Dan Maher, midfielder Daniel Cemino and utilities Jacob Johnson and Cal Buchanan will also bolster the Cats’ starting 18.

The long list of recruits means for the first time in a couple of years there will be strong competition for spots in the senior side.

A top five finish is probably out of the question, but the Cats look set to give their HDFNL rivals a much better run for their money in 2017.

Q & A with Peter Gibbs

Q: After a strong recruiting campaign, how confident are you that the Cats can jump up the ladder this year?

We still lack height, there’s no question about that, but we think we’re in a position to win more games this year.

We need to improve in all areas, but we think we have a group that will make us stronger across the ground.

We have some good quality midfielders and we have a lot of developing kids who put their head over the footy and have a red-hot crack.

We struggled to kick goals last year, so we need to find a few different avenues to goal this year.

Lockington has the potential to push for a finals berth on the netball court in 2017.

Lockington has the potential to push for a finals berth on the netball court in 2017.

LOCKINGTON-BAMAWM UNITED NETBALL

COACH:  Kristy Roulston (new)

LAST YEAR: Seventh

ARRIVALS

Jane Reid (returning to netball/formerly Rochester and Shepparton Swans); Rebecca Eade (elevated to A-grade); Shellyn Baldwin.

DEPARTURES

Jess Johnson (university in Melbourne).

COACHING PANEL

A-reserve: Jane Reid

B-grade: Cathy Elms

B-reserve: Shellyn Baldwin

17-and-under: Mandy Walker

Under-15: Kristy Roulston

LAST THREE YEARS

2016: Seventh

2015: Fifth

2014: Fifth

SUMMARY

A RETURN to finals action is the aim of new Lockington-Bamawm United coach Kristy Roulston.

The Cats narrowly missed a finals berth last season after finishing fifth the previous two seasons.

Roulston, who is in her sixth year with the Cats, has had good success as coach with the Cats junior and lower grades teams and hopes are that can be replicated in the top grade.

Player losses have been minimal, while the Cats have added former Rochester and Shepparton Swans player Jane Reid, who can fill key posts at either end of the court.

The Cats have high hopes for 16-year-old defender Rebecca Eade, who is stepping straight up from the junior ranks and will play round one against Mount Pleasant.

Other youngsters such as Ellie Monaghan and Breeanah Priestly, Stacey Bacon and Ally Todd will also get opportunities, alongside established players Roulston and former coach Paige Randall.

Cats netball operations manager Rebecca Dodd believed the club was in good hands with Roulston at the helm.

"She has an amazing way of explaining things and handling herself under pressure. She excells at playing that communicative role on court as well and bringing it back to basics," she said.

LBU has a chance to build some early momentum, with the Cats not scheduled to meet one of last season's finalists until they play fifth-placed Huntly in round four.

Q&A with Kristy Roulston

Q. How is the feeling around the club for the season ahead?

It's really good. We haven't had a big recruiting drive, we've only got a few new girls in, but we have some of the same combinations we had going last year. The core of A-grade and A squad will be similar to what it was last year and we just want to build on that. Rebecca Eade is a young player who will come in and is doing really well in under-17 zone teams. She'll be a really great asset to our defensive end. Finals is our obvious goal.