Coach: Kahl Oliver (2nd year)
Last year: 5th - 10-7
Arrivals: Nathan Bacon, Thomas Eade, Lachlan Egglestone, Jacob Gardiner, Pat Gardiner, Rhys Woodland.
Departures: Jordan Brown, Nathan Dyson, Xavier Kelly.
Player points: 46
Last flag: 2014
Opener: v White Hills (a)
R1: v Heathcote (h)
R2: v Colbinabbin (a)
R3: v Huntly (h)
Past five years:
2018: 5th - 10-7
2017: 6th - 4-12
2016: 9th - 1-15
2015: 8th - 2-14
2014: 1st - 16-4
Last season's MVP top 5:
Tyler Phillips - 43
Liam Main - 40
Bart Phillips - 32
Fraser Monahan - 30
Thomas Leech - 29
Last season's top 5 goalkickers:
Jarod Bacon - 49
Lachlan Collins - 44
Thomas Leech - 17
Zeik Johnston - 16
Tyler Phillips - 14
Q and A with coach Kahl Oliver
From four wins in 2017 to 10 last season clearly has the Cats on an upwards curve. What's the next step you're eyeing off this year?
"The aim will be to do the same as last year... that's play finals. I think we can make some rapid improvement again and, hopefully, push into the top three bracket.
"I thought we were right in amongst it last year. We've recruited well in picking up an on-baller (Nathan Bacon), centre half-back (Rhys Woodland), full-forward (Patrick Gardiner) and a bloke (Jacob Gardiner) who can play anywhere.
"With a healthy list, I think we're going to be pretty hard to stop."
The club has got games into a lot of young players in recent seasons. Who is really exciting you of that batch leading into this year?
"Ricky Walsh is the player I think will come on in leaps and bounds and he's going to be really important for us playing that forward pocket role and on-ball.
"He has had a huge pre-season and got really fit, so I think he'll be the one who takes the next step for us."
With a lot of players getting their first taste of senior finals last year, have you sensed some extra drive among the group through the pre-season?
"We picked up on that last year when coming to the end of the season and we were looking to get commitments for this season that there was no hesitation.
"Everyone knew that last year was just a stepping stone on this journey. We didn't think it would turn quite as quickly as what it has, but we think we're going to be right in amongst it this year."
Given the rapid improvement made by the Cats last season, they are shaping as one of the teams to watch in 2019.
On the back of a return to the finals for the first time since 2014 - they bowed out to Colbinabbin in the elimination final by 13 points - Cats' coach Kahl Oliver has topped up with four key additions to complement the natural development that will come from the club's younger brigade.
Nathan Bacon is a class midfielder returning to the Cats where he previously played in three premierships during their dynasty of four in a row between 2011 and 2014.
Bacon also won a flag with Newbridge last year, while also running third in the Loddon Valley league's Harding Medal.
Fellow recruits Rhys Woodland (defence) and Patrick Gardiner (forward) will fill key position roles for the Cats, who look well-placed for a run at the coveted top-three - the clear aim of Oliver.
The addition of Gardiner adds a third string to the Cats' forward arsenal alongside the dangerous duo of Jarod Bacon and Lachlan Collins, who last year combined for 93 goals.
In a strong endorsement for the Cats moving forward, their losses are only minimal, and with their under-17s having played in a grand final last year, there is plenty of young talent coming through the ranks that bodes well for the future.
The Cats can expect to be involved in plenty of hyped-up games throughout the year - the first coming in their opening match when they take on the bulked up White Hills under lights in a stand-alone season-opener on April 6.
Plenty for the Cats to be excited about in 2019.
Practice matches - v West Footscray (March 16 at Lockington), v Mitiamo (March 22 at Lockington).
Related: Season preview - Huntly
Related: Season preview - Heathcote
Related: Season preview - Elmore
Related: Season preview - Colbinabbin
Coach: Kerrie Taylor (first year)
Arrivals: Annalese Palmer, Rylea Cuttriss, Emma Treacy, Lynsey Dobson, Breanna Giddings, Jessie Campbell, Tannah Couchman, Camille Johnston, Kerryn Giorganni, Rachael Major, Jayde Ilsley, Kaitlin Rowlands.
Departures: Rebecca Eade (university).
Coaching panel: Kerrie Taylor (head coach); Shelby Stone (A-squad assistant); Jess Hill (B-squad assistant); Jayde Ilsley (17-and-under); Lyndall Taylor (17-and-under assistant); Stacy Bacon (15-and-under); Narelle Bacon (15-and-under assistant); Kerryn Giorganni (D primary).
Last five years: Eighth (2018); sixth (2017); seventh (2016); fifth (2015); fifth (2014).
Q and A with Kerrie Taylor
Tell us a little bit about your netball background?
"I've come from Melbourne, I previously played A-grade in the Sunbury league and have been involved with representative coaching. My daughter played at Lockington last year and before that she was at Echuca United. We moved up this way seven years ago."
What in particular excited you about the Cats' coaching job?
"Mainly the challenge of bringing all the girls together as a team. A few of our previous players have come back, so we are trying to entwine the older players and the current players and get them working together. It's really exciting getting the former players back. They're providing a bit of stability through our teams. It's fair to say the club has struggled a little bit in recent years. We had a practice match recently against (Kyabram District league club) Girgarre and mixed the teams up a bit and how our teams performed was very promising. We've got another three practice matches against Tongala, Mathoura and Mitiamo."
When do you expect to settle on your preferred A-grade combination?
"That will take a few weeks - I want to see the rest of the practice matches and then make a decision. What I am really looking forward to is bringing some juniors up during the season. They've got the ability to step up and get some experience on the court."
A new coach and a swag of new and mostly returning players has been the catalyst for plenty of enthusiasm and excitement at Lockington-Bamawm United.
The Cats finished with just a pair of wins last season, but expectations are that they can significantly improve on that number this season and go some way into bridging the gap between themselves and the league's pacesetters.
That task of lifting the Cats, who have not played finals since 2015, lies with new coach Kerrie Taylor, who joins the club with an impressive netball resume, including stints in charge of representative teams.
Taylor is not a complete stranger, having helped out at the club in the back half of last season.
While she acknowledges the battle to climb the ladder is a work in a progress, Taylor has been impressed with her squad's desire and application during the pre-season.
A glut of returning players and recruits, headed by defenders Annalese Palmer and Emma Treacy, and goaler Rylea Cuttriss, will ensure a much more competitive outfit in 2018 across all grades.
The Cats' major loss is that of young defender Rebecca Eade, who was an interleague player in 2018, but has headed to Melbourne for university.
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