NEW Marong A-grade netball coach Linda Bickerdike says she excited to be leading the Panthers into a new era.
The former junior mentor, who coached the Panthers’ 17-and-under team to a grand final appearance in 2014, has replaced Robyn Cunnington in the top job.
Marong finished 2017 in eighth place with two wins, but showed considerable improvement in the second half of the season by narrowing the margin of its losses against most teams.
Bickerdike will coach both the A and B-grade teams and said she was looking forward to the challenge of continuing to develop the Panthers’ senior squads.
“We had a massive changeover of girls at the club last year, apart from a couple of girls the whole squad was new,” she said.
“It’s now a matter of doing some more recruiting this year.
“We are a growing club and hopefully with a bit of new blood and working with the players from last year, we’ll be able to build up a nice strong team.”
Bickerdike, who started coaching junior sides as a teenager, has an extensive background in leading under-age and school teams in Bendigo and her former home in Gippsland and is coaching a senior squad for the first time.
“I’m really hopeful of getting a good response to tryouts, Marong is a real nice club,” she said.
“The club has done a lot of work on building the club and being the type of club we want to be.
“It’s an enjoyable place to be and now a matter of developing the people we have there.”
In other coaching appointments, Emma Randall will take charge of the C-grade team, while a year after returning to the club, Nicole Grant will lead C-reserve.
Tryouts for the Panthers start on Sunday, November 26, from 10.30am to 12.30pm at Malone Park.
They will hold two further trials pre-Christmas on December 5 and 7 (both from 6pm-8pm) and another on February 6 (6pm-8pm).