NORTH Bendigo's bid to return to the HDFNL A-grade netball finals for the first time since 2016 will be led by a new coach.
The Bulldogs have appointed Brittany Shannon as their A-grade playing coach for the 2020 season.
She takes over the role from El Findlay, who coached the A-grade side for two seasons.
Findlay will remain on the Bulldogs senior coaching panel, alongside Shannon and Rhiana Broadbent.
Shannon, who joined North Bendigo in 2015 from her former club Nathalia, is stepping up to the A-grade role after leading the Bulldogs' B-reserve team to a grand final appearance in 2019.
The midcourter takes charge of an A-grade team, which took plenty of strides in 2019, finishing as the highest placed team outside the finals in sixth position, with a 5-9-1 record.
Shannon said she was excited about the challenge ahead and believed there was no reason why the Bulldogs could not challenge for a spot in the five.
"I felt we had a reasonably strong team last season, but we just weren't consistent enough," she said.
"It was really nice playing alongside the girls we had this year. It was pretty much a brand new team and it took a while for us to work together well.
"But as the year went on things really picked up. Having a year together under our belts, I am sure there's improvement to come."
Shannon pointed to a four-goal loss to minor round premiers and grand finalist Colbinabbin in round nine as to the type of netball the team was capable of producing.
"I think we were only down by a couple of goals the second time against Colbo too until (goal shooter) Dayna (McGough) got hurt," she said.
"Hopefully we can keep that type of momentum going.
"There was definitely a few other games we could have won, it just came down to consistency and a bit of a lack of belief in each other, but I reckon we got there in the end."
The Bulldogs will enter the new season minus at least one of its stars from last season following the departure of goal attack Rachel McKenzie, who has transferred to Melbourne through work.
"Unfortunately Rach won't be back, which will be a big loss. She was a great player to have in there at goal attack last season," Shannon said.
"I'm sure she would have stayed with the club if she had stayed up here.
"But apart from that, we should pretty much have everyone back.
"We have just finished our tryouts, so we are just finalising our squads at the moment, but hopefully we do have a few new faces around the club."
North Bendigo had three of its four senior teams qualify for finals in 2019, with both its B-grade and B-reserve sides reaching grand finals.
The Bulldogs last played A-grade finals in 2016, when coached by Sandhurst tripe premiership coach Tamara Gilchrist.
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