AFTER leading North Bendigo’s B-grade and B-reserve netball teams to grand finals in the last two years, Ellena Findlay is looking forward to the challenge of leading the Bulldogs’ top side in 2018.
Findlay, an A-grade premiership player with the Bulldogs in 2014, will take on her first A-grade coaching assignment.
She replaces Brigette McDougall and Jac Button, who led the Bulldogs for one season.
It’s an exciting time for Findlay to be taking on the new role, with the HDFNL competition continuing to tighten up.
“White Hills and Colbo are always strong and Leitchville-Gunbower is always an under-dog and Mounts and Huntly have become strong again,” she said.
“There’s been heaps of movement and a lot stronger across the board.
“When I first go to the HDFNL, it was us, Colbo and White Hills, but it’s definitely a lot more even, which is great for the competition.”
Findlay takes over a North Bendigo team, which missed the finals last season for the first time in more than five years.
The Bulldogs started the season without the bulk of its previous year’s line-up and finished seventh with four wins.
Findlay, who expects to be a non-playing coach, has served a strong coaching apprenticeship with the Bulldogs.
In 2016, she coached North Bendigo to its first B-reserve premiership win and last season was co-coach alongside Sophie Alford of the B-grade team, which played in a grand final against White Hills.
With the appointment made, attention now for the Bulldogs will turn to recruiting.
Findlay, who has previously played with rival Heathcote District club Mount Pleasant and also Eaglehawk, said the club was looking to bolster its depth across all grades.
“We had pretty much whole new squads across the four senior teams last year and unfortunately we didn’t quite have enough depth in A-grade,” she said.
“We are trying to rectify that.”
The Bulldogs will be without one of their previous coaches next season in Jac Button, but her former sidekick McDougall will suit up for the Bulldogs despite relinquishing the coaching reins due to university commitments.
Senior tryouts for the Bulldogs start on November 30 from 6pm-7.30pm at the Atkins Street oval.
Further trials are scheduled for December 3 (4pm-5.30pm), December 7 (6pm-7.30pm), and December 10 (4pm-5.30pm).