Coach: Danny Brewster (3rd year)
Last year: 9th - 1-15
Arrivals: James Atkinson, Jack Connell, Ian Fuller, Daniel Green, Romain Grenville, Rhys Healey, Zack Holmberg, Darcy Laffy, Jared Laffy, Lachlan Major, Dylan Oaff, Lachlan Trewick, Nathan Williams.
Departures: Matthew Nettlefold, Nick Kellow.
Player points: 46
Last flag: 2007
R1: v Colbinabbin (h)
R2: v Huntly (a)
R3: v L’ville-Gunbower (h)
R4: v White Hills (a)
Past five years:
2018: 9th - 1-15
2017: 8th - 3-12-1
2016: 5th - 8-9
2015: 6th - 5-11
2014: 9th - 0-15-1
Last year’s MVP top 5:
Ben Makepeace - 50
Matt Gilmour - 42
Nick Kellow - 39
Angus Munro - 25
Tyler Oliver - 24
Last year’s top 5 goalkickers:
James Harney - 35
Ben Makepeace - 19
Danny Brewster - 17
Nick Kellow - 9
Blake Schneider - 7
Q and A with coach Danny Brewster
Coming off a season where it took until the final round to win your first game, what is your starting point for improvement this year?
"We have the base now of more games into the guys who hadn't had much senior experience, so that should hold them in good stead, and we've been able to add in a bit more quality, which will hopefully bring the younger players on a bit quicker as well.
"Our main starting point is our midfield is going to have a lot more depth and our forward line a lot more avenues to goal than we've had over the past couple of years."
With a host of names among the list of arrivals, who are the players in particular we can expect could have a real significant impact on the competition this year?
"Rhys Healey coming from the Goulburn Valley league will obviously be a key midfielder for us.
"Romain Grenville has played some quality footy, including state league in Tasmania as a key forward, so he will definitely help us.
"Darcy Laffy played a game for us last year as a fill-in and will probably take a spot at centre half-forward and really help with the workload Jimmy Harney has had to carry for the past four or five years.
"And James Atkinson is a ruckman from the Ovens and Murray league who will be a big asset with Jack Hayes still being out of action for a bit longer with his ankle."
You mentioned having more midfield depth this year. Will that then pave the way for you to return to a more permanent role again in the forward line?
"We're having a bit of a look at that. Adding Rhys Healey and Jarrod Laffy into our midfield and having Matt Gilmour still in there, it should mean that between Jimmy Harney and I, we shouldn't need to go in there as much as we have previously.
"But in saying that, we've got a lot of other avenues to goal, so it's just working out where myself and others best suit the team with the line-up we're going to have."
Hopefully for the sake of Elmore the Bloods won't be waiting as long as they did last season to sing their song for the first time in 2019.
The Bloods' only win of 2018 came in their final game when they beat Heathcote by 27 points - one of only 17 wins Elmore has savoured over the past five years.
However, the lack of success in recent years hasn't stopped the Bloods from attracting 13 new players to the club, with the most familiar name being Rhys Healey.
The well-travelled Healey is a two-time Eaglehawk premiership player and has spent time on Melbourne's rookie list.
The midfielder joins the Bloods from the Shepparton Swans in the Goulburn Valley league.
West Indian-born forward Romain Grenville has been described during a previous stint playing in Tasmania as "athletic, strong and powerful" and joins a Bloods' side that had only James Harney (35) kick more than 20 goals last year.
The Bloods were able to play patches of competitive football throughout the season last year, but were unable to sustain it for long enough.
However, if new ruckman James Atkinson can impact and they can win more of the ball through the midfield to create opportunities for the likes of Harney, coach Danny Brewster and Grenville in attack, they have the makings of a more competitive outfit in 2019.
Practice matches: v Marong (March 16 at Epsom), v Bridgewater (March 23 at Elmore)
Coach: Sue Borserio (second year)
Last season: Fifth
Arrivals: Ruby Barkmeyer, Caitlin McLachlan, Abbey McLean, Chloe Hay, Cayde Hayes, Shae McDougal, Sarah Trewick, Madi Cliff.
Coaching panel: Sue Borserio (director of coaching, A-grade and A-reserve); Eloise Murray (A-grade assistant); Loz McKee (A-reserve assistant); Aimee Brown (B-grade); Vickie Watters (B-grade assistant); Mel Oldfield (B-reserve); Hollie Hildebrandt (17-and-under); Jess Hildebrandt (17-and-under assistant); Hayley Langdon (15-and-under); Inga Mullane (15-and-under assistant); Ally Rosaia (D-primary); Cayde Hayes (D-primary assistant coach).
Last five years: Fifth (2018): eighth (2017); ninth (2016); eighth (2015); eighth (2014).
Q and A with Sue Borserio
2018 was obviously a year of sharp improvement for the Bloods. What is the expectation and/or aims heading into this year?
“This year we would be aiming to be more consistent, keep improving our skills and push the top teams. All clubs have recruited amazingly with some high calibre players joining the league. Every week will be a hard game for us, there are no easy games.”
In terms of recruits, none come any higher profile than Ruby Barkmeyer. What impact has she had in her first few months at Elmore?
“Having Ruby come on board at Elmore has generated a positive and exciting vibe at training - she is a star and has a huge future ahead of her in state and national level. All the players are keen to play alongside Ruby and to learn from such an exciting talent … it’s not every day you have an (junior) Australian netball player in your team. The first time she played at training many girls just watched her as she produced the magic on the court, and they all were a little star struck. In true Elmore style the girls have welcomed her with open arms.”
Tell us a little bit about some of the younger players at Elmore you expect to make an impact at some stage during the season.
“There are some key Elmore players that are in their second and third year of A-grade-A reserve netball - Carly Demeo, Isabel Nichol-Smith, Steph Donnellon, Hollie Hildebrandt, Ally Rosaia - who can all step up and hold down a key position in our A-grade team if they’re prepared to put in the extra effort required.
There’s a genuine buzz around Elmore as the Bloods strive to build on a stirring fifth place finish in 2018.
Much of the hype surrounds the arrival of former BFNL star Ruby Barkmeyer from Kangaroo Flat, who has joined her former Roos junior coach Sue Borserio at Elmore.
The star goaler, who was best-on-court in Kangaroo Flat’s 2016 premiership win against Golden Square at age 15, brings with her a wealth of Victorian Netball League and state and national representative experience and, according to her coach, has ‘generated a positive and exciting vibe at training’ in just a few short months.
While Barkmeyer will miss some game due to her VNL commitments, the Bloods are hopeful those absences will be few.
Elmore has also added former Bendigo Braves basketballer 2018 championship player Caitlin McLachlan to the roster and she shapes as an intriguing prospect with her limited netball background, albeit several Braves star have successfully made the transition to netball in recent seasons.
Barkmeyer and McLachlan add to an existing talent pool that has plenty of scope for improvement within.
The Bloods did well to reach finals for the first time since 2012 last season, but their sights should be set higher than an elimination final’s appearance this time around.
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