GOLDEN SQUARE FOOTBALL
COACH: Bernie Haberman (new)
LAST YEAR: Second
Blake Coyle, Michael Dalrymple, Nathan Fall, Bailey George, Joshua Foley, Daine Grace, Josh Grace, Nick Lee, Liam Marciano, Rhys Mutch, Corey Van Aken.
Ryan Herring, Ryan Colbert, Simon Rosa, Isaac Miller, Pat Hassett, Riley Saunders, Chris Ryan, Dale Young, Adrian McErvale, James Walsh, Michael Roberts, Che Walls, Lachlan Woodward.
Sportsbet flag odds: $15
Player points: 38
R1: v Kangaroo Flat (a)
R2: v Strathfieldsaye (h)
R3: v Sandhurst (h)
R4: v Eaglehawk (a)
LAST FIVE YEARS
2016: Second (17-5)
2015: Third (17-4)
2014: Fourth (11-9)
2013: Premiers (14-5)
2012: Premiers (17-3-1)
NEW Golden Square coach Bernie Haberman has inherited a list that has undergone significant change.
The Bulldogs were beaten by arch-rival Sandhurst by 32 points in last year’s grand final.
However, 11 of the 22 who represented the Bulldogs on grand final day have moved on.
Among the departures are the ever-reliable full-back through their golden era, Dale Young, gun midfielder Simon Rosa and 2016 Vic Country representative Chris Ryan.
The loss of half-a-side could spell disaster for many a club, but the Bulldogs still boast plenty of quality talent in the likes of Jack Geary, Brayden Dorrington, Hamish Morcom, Jon Coe, Tom Toma, Adam and Travis Baird, Clayton Anderson and last year’s Ron Best medallist, Dylan Johnstone.
Additions to the Bulldogs include Blake Coyle, the Goulburn Valley league’s Rising Star in 2010, and Michael Dalrymple, who was a 2015 winner of the Maryborough-Castlemaine District league medal, while Golden Square also has four new Bendigo Pioneer-listed players from the Sunraysia area in Daine and Josh Grace, Liam Marciano and Rhys Mutch.
Q & A with Bernie Haberman
Q: Given half of last year's grand final side is gone, it would seem a lot of what Golden Square dishes up is going to revolve around what your young players who will get increased opportunity produce and how consistent they can be.
If you have two or three kids who are in to play a role and are just feeling their way, that's alright, but when you've got seven or eight, that's when it can be a bit of a stretch.
If they all play well, you don't notice it as much, but if there's a day where they put in below par performances, that's where it will be noticed.
It might be a bit of a cliche, but it is exciting because I don't know what I'm going to get.
GOLDEN SQUARE NETBALL
Coach: Allira Holmes (new)
Last year: Second
Kelly Wilson (WNBL - Townsville Fire), Andrea Wilson (WNBL - Bendigo Spirit), Sophie Williams (Murrabit), Delaynie Caldwell.
Abbey Ryan (Eaglehawk), Ashley Ryan (Eaglehawk), Belinda Pinner (Mount Pleasant), Clare Hope (Mount Pleasant), Chantal O'Brien (Mount Pleasant), Nicola Mulquiny, Holly Guerra (Colbinabbin), Lauren Ray.
A-reserve: Allira Holmes
B-grade: Aimee Ryan
B-reserve: Tess Davies
17-and-under: Melinda Keighran
17-and-under section one teams: Nardine Cahoon and Beck Mullen.
LAST THREE YEARS
There will be a new-look about Golden Square this season, but also enough familiarity to suggest the Bulldogs will again be a major contender for top honours.
Allira Holmes, who was best-on-court in the Bulldogs' 2015 premiership win, takes over the coaching reins from Lia Marrone, who guided the team to three straight grand final appearances.
Gone from last season's runner-up team are sisters Ashley and Abbey Ryan, centre Belinda Pinner, Holluy Guerra and Nicole Mulquiny.
In their place come Sophie Williams (Murrabit) and some intriguing recruits in the form of WNBL basketballers Kelly and Andrea Wilson.
Neither has played netball for a few seasons, although Andrea was a premiership player at Mount Pleasant alongside the Bulldogs' star goal shooter Gabe Richards in 2012.
Their coach said both had definitely impressed during the pre-season.
With Holmes joining 2014 joint league best and fairest Meg Gilbert and potentially the versatile Lucy Morcom, who is equally adept at both ends of the court, the Bulldogs' defence shapes as ultra-strong.
At the other end of the court, Richards will continue to be a stumbling block for rival defences.
Q & A with Allira Holmes
Q: Some interesting inclusions into the team?
Andrea Wilson obviously hasn't played netball for a little bit but has just come off a WNBL season. Her sister Kelly played the WNBL season in Townsville and has come to have a play around at netball. They've both definitely picked it up quickly and slotted into the side really welll and been playing well. We just had a practice match on the weekend against Shepparton United, with a mixture of A and A-reserve girls playing their A-grade. I was very happy with the outcome. There are some things we can definitely work on but it's only the beginning of the season and it's looking very promising.
Q: How are you enjoying coaching?
I'm very busy. I took on VNL commitments (with Ballarat) this year and tried to push myself to play a little higher (level). I travel twice a week to Melbourne for that. Juggling coaching has been tough at times, but I've loved coming back and working with the goals and sharing some knowledge.