ALL but one of Calivil United’s winning grand final team of 2017 will be back to defend the Demons’ Loddon Valley league flag this year.
The Demons last season halted Bridgewater’s dominance of the competition with a 34-point win over the Mean Machine in the grand final.
Calivil United will return to the field with 21 of its premiership 22 still intact this year, with the only departure its captain of last season and reigning Harding medallist Ben Knight, who is returning to North Bendigo.
“Obviously other clubs circle when you’ve got the calibre of players we have and with a lot of guys in that 20 to 21-year age bracket who have just won a premiership, those are the sort of players clubs want to get into their club,” Demons coach Anthony Dennis said.
“We had nine or 10 signed up before the finals last year and have been able to keep ticking off the boxes, so it’s fantastic we have been able to keep just about the entire team together.”
As well as 21 of the 22 premiership players staying on, the Demons have added Chris Sanders, who has senior Goulburn Valley league experience with Rochester, and has also played at Stanhope.
“He had last year off, so he’s coming back fresh and we’ll look to use him across half-forward and through the middle,” Dennis said.
Jesse Muscatello, who has played with the Bendigo Pioneers, seniors with Castlemaine and at Coburg in the AFL Victoria Development League is joining the Demons, where he’s earmarked for a key forward role.
The Demons also have brothers Brock and Daniel Rogers returning to Calivil United from Eaglehawk.
Brock, a pacy wingman with more than 80 games of senior experience with the Hawks, was a premiership player with the Demons during their golden era when they won six flags in a row between 2003 and 2008.
The Demons begin their premiership defence on Saturday, April 14, with an away game against Marong.
Calivil United will resume its pre-season training this Monday.
LVFNL round one, April 14 – Mitiamo v Bridgewater, Marong v Calivil United, BL-Serpentine v Maiden Gully YCW, Newbridge v Pyramid Hill. Inglewood bye.