ELMORE coach Sue Borserio has labelled her latest batch of key recruits as 'the icing on the cake of an already strong, dedicated and supportive group of players' to contest the 2020 HDFNL A-grade season.
The Bloods have added former Huntly defender Kaitlyn McPhee, dual code athlete Tahnee Cannan and emerging goal shooter Ash Ripper, from Maryborough, to their squad, which finished the 2019 season in third place.
Elmore narrowly missed clinching a breakthrough grand final berth, losing a nail-biting preliminary final against Colbinabbin by just one goal.
Borserio, who is into her third season at the helm at Elmore, hopes the combination of shrewd recruiting and natural improvement from her largely young and ultra-talented line-up can lift the Bloods a rung, or even two, higher on the league ladder.
"We showed last year in the preliminary final against Colbo that we are serious contenders," she said.
"Clubs like them and (reigning premiers) White Hills are always going to be tough, but we are shrinking the margin every time.
"They deserve the accolades as they have worked hard to build their clubs to that standard. I respect them."
The inclusions of McPhee, a HDFNL inter-league representative in 2018, Cannan, a premiership player with Mitiamo in 2012 and a long-time Bendigo Braves basketballer, and Ripper add plenty of strength at both ends of the court for the Bloods.
"Kaitlyn McPhee is a massive pick up for us, she is an elite Spartan Race athlete and has recently contested and won," Borserio said.
"Her high endurance level and core of steel will see her successfully play a big part in our defensive pressure over the whole court.
"She is a very positive and supportive team player and we are very lucky to have her at Elmore.
"Tahnee (Cannan) is extremely versatile and can play any position on the court with ease.
"Her regional performance in defence for North Central a few years ago was a highlight of the talent she possesses.
"She is also a very capable goaler with her basketball background and is a long shot specialist"
Borserio described Ripper as an exciting, 18-year-old, six foot two goal shooter and goal keeper, from a great netball family.
"Ash is a Caitlin Thwaites look-alike in her style of play, able to hold for the lob and also very quick on her feet to leads out for a quick ball," she said.
"Her netball journey is only beginning with Elmore and with some experience she will be a stand out in the next few years."
Naturally stoked with her recruiting haul, Borserio said there would again be equal focus on promoting the club's rich junior talent into the senior ranks, among them Abbey Hromenko, Sophie McLean and Kira Niven.
"To me, age is only a number, if they're good enough then they take that position," she said.
"Our club coaches all work together to achieve what's best for the teams and players.
"Junior development is a huge priority for Elmore and we target games that our juniors can play and gain valuable senior experience in A-grade and A-reserve."
The Bloods open their season on April 4 against Heathcote.
In other round one games, Colbinabbin hosts North Bendigo, Huntly clashes with expected improvers Lockington Bamawm United, and Leitchville-Gunbower takes on White Hills. Mount Pleasant has the bye.
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