Player exodus stings Eaglehawk

Eaglehawk faces a monumental task to defend its Bendigo Netball League A-grade title next season with most of its squad deciding not to play on.

The Borough will be a new-look team in 2013, with key defensive duo Lauren Ryan and Heather Oliver among the big losses.

Oliver, who was best on court in the grand final, is set to move to the USA, while young goal-shooter Abby Gilmore is also unlikely to be living in Bendigo next year.

The rising star shot the winning goal in the 31-30 grand final victory against Sandhurst and finished third in the Betty Thompson Medal last season.

Her attacking partner Christie Rogers and wing-defence Hannah Gretgrix are taking next season off, while mid-courter Brittany Eastman is relocating to Western Australia.

The only players remaining from last year’s team, which broke the Hawks’ 13-year A-grade premiership drought, will be coach Amanda O’Neill and Carmel Mulcahy.

O’Neill has applied to be co-coach next season and knows how big a job it will be to recruit a side capable of challenging for the 2013 flag.

“We’ve lost pretty much all of A-grade. It will make it very tough (to go back-to-back),” O’Neill said.

“We’re looking to recruit fairly soon. The positions have been advertised in the Bendigo Advertiser for the coaches, so we’ve got to go through all of that stuff and see what happens.

“At this stage I’m looking to co-coach. I’ve met with that person (co-coach) and if we get the job then we’ve got some names that we’re going to be chasing down.

“We’re just looking for players in other leagues that we’ve heard might want to make a swap to the BFNL.”

Eaglehawk will hold its try-outs for 2013 in December, after most of the other clubs in the league.

But O’Neill hopes that won’t prevent potential recruits signing to play at Canterbury Park.

“If we try and get a move on and start recruiting the bigger name girls to the club we shouldn’t, hopefully, miss out on those. If they want to commit to Eaglehawk they’re guaranteed a game,” she said.

Eaglehawk goal defence Lauren Ryan.

Eaglehawk goal defence Lauren Ryan.


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