BFNL season preview – Strathfieldsaye

LIVEWIRE: Lachlan Sharp is among three Strathfieldsaye players returning from knee injuries this year.
LIVEWIRE: Lachlan Sharp is among three Strathfieldsaye players returning from knee injuries this year.

STRATHFIELDSAYE FOOTBALL

ARRIVALS

Nicholas Clydesdale, Torin Petrie, Sam Heavyside, Jake Heavyside, Shaun Dwyer, Alex Powell, Jacob Seears, Caillum Brady, Brad Rohde, Zoltan Smyth, Phillip Moi Moi, Hunter Lawrence.

DEPARTURES

Bryce Curnow, Michael Pilcher, Danny Jones, Riley Hogan, Jordan Wilson.

THE BASICS

Sportsbet flag odds: $4

Player points: 38

FIRST MONTH

R1: v Sandhurst (h)

R2: v Golden Square (a)

R3: v Eaglehawk (h)

R4: v Gisborne (a)

LAST FIVE YEARS

2016: Fourth (14-6)

2015: Premiers (20-0)

2014: Premiers (19-1)

2013: Second (13-5-1)

2012: Third (14-7)

A STRAIGHT-sets finals exit coming off back-to-back premierships may at first glance suggest Strathfieldsaye is on the slide.

After winning the 2014 and 2015 flags, and 39 of a possible 40 games, the Storm didn’t get past the second week of the finals last season.

But don’t be fooled into thinking the Storm’s era among the top echelon of teams is coming to an end.

Rather, the club hopes the challenges presented last year when it used 46 senior players will hold it in good stead for 2017.

The club – which has 11 players on the Bendigo Pioneers list – has an envious group of young talent. The Storm has won the past two under-18 flags and had 11 of its under-18 squad experience senior football last year.

Dynamic forward Lachlan Sharp, Vinnie Flood and Ben Lester will all return from knee injuries, while the club also has Sam Heavyside returning full-time from Essendon VFL, as well as Jacob Heavyside back.

The Storm has added key players at both ends in Torin Petrie (defence) and seven-time Bridgewater premiership forward Brad Rohde, while the classy Nicholas Clydesdale will be a recruit to watch in what should be a quality side.

Q & A with Darryl Wilson

Q: Having won the past two under-18 premierships, how much of this year will be focused around the young kids coming through at the Storm?

We played a lot of kids last year... we played 46 in total in the seniors, but we'd obviously hope the number won't be that high this year.

A lot of our young kids have had some exposure and that's only going to be beneficial to them this year.

It's really exciting for young kids like Jake Moorhead and Zeb Murrell who have come through our junior program and will get a great opportunity to step up.

As far as our recruiting, we focused on what we needed. Petrie helps down back, Rohde gives us a forward and Sam Heavyside a midfielder.

STRATHFIELDSAYE NETBALL

Coach: Aleisha Langdon (new)

Last year: Sixth

ARRIVALS

Ashlee Barbetti, Georgia Miller (Golden Square), Kate Salvador (17-and-under), Kelsey Ralph (17-and-under).

DEPARTURES

Cara Bastian (Bears Lagoon-Serpentine),

COACHING PANEL

A-reserve: Aleisha Langdon:  

B-grade and B-reserve:  Zenda McConnell

17-and-under: Amy Davies and Ashlee Barbetti

Division one: Fiona Schubert

LAST THREE YEARS

2016: Sixth

2015: Second

2014: Sixth

NEW coach Aleisha Langdon is targeting a return to finals action in his first season at the helm at Strathfieldsaye.

The Storm missed September action in 2016, a year after playing off in a grand final thriller against Golden Square.

Langdon, who is no stranger at Strathfieldsaye having played there since 2011 and previously coached the Storm's B-grade and B-reserve teams, will start the season with largely the same squad that finished sixth last season, with a few good inclusions.

They include Ashlee Barbetti, who will coach the club's 17-and under team with Amy Davies, and two exciting youngsters from last season's junior team which finished runners-up to Gisborne in Kate Salvador and Kelsey Ralph.

The nucleus includes reigning Betty Thompson Medal winner Brianna Dalrymple-Monro, Stephanie Strachan, Claire Gibbs and the coach herself.

Langdon said the Storm’s past two coaches Melissa Ryan and Mali Roberts (now at Eaglehawk) had been great influences on her career.

“The real expectation is for the girls to put what we do into training into their game and have a positive mindset,” she said.

“Finals is the aim.”

Brianna Dalrymple-Monro

Brianna Dalrymple-Monro

Q&A with Aleisha Langdon

Q: How are you enjoying the step-up to coaching A-grade?

I'm really enjoying it. I've been at the club since 2011, so  I know a lot of the girls really well, (and) I've played with them. To be able top coach them is really exciting and I'm enjoying the opportunity to do so.

Q: How's the pre-season been?

We've had a focus on the girls getting to know each other because we have a few new girls throughout the senior team. It varied each week in terms of circuit, sprint sessions, strengthening sessions and some practice matches to consolidate what we've been doing at training into games. We played practice matches against White Hills and Mount Pleasant.