ELMORE has secured a major off-season boost, luring a pair of former BFNL league stars for the 2021 Heathcote District league season.
In a major boost to their playing and leadership stocks, the Bloods have signed former A-grade premiership player and 2015 BFNL grand final best-on-court Allira Holmes and talented young defender/midfielder Bridget Murray.
Holmes and Murray were team-mates at Eaglehawk during 2019, when Holmes led the Hawks to a preliminary final berth as their joint coach alongside Mali Roberts.
Murray was scheduled to miss the cancelled 2020 season after injuring her Achilles during the Hawks' semi-final victory over Gisborne in 2019, but will resume her career in red and white.
In Holmes, the Bloods have helped themselves to a well-respected on-court leader with premiership and a wealth of grand final experience.
The former BFNL inter-league defender played in four straight grand finals for Golden Square between 2014 and '17 and was best-on-court in the Bulldogs' premiership win during their undefeated 2015 season.
Holmes later coached the Bulldogs to a grand final appearance against Sandhurst in 2017.
A thrilled Elmore coach Sue Borserio praised Holmes' combination of strength and netball intelligence.
"She can read a player's moves in the first 10 seconds of a game and then counteract those moves with her tenacious style of play," she said
"She is quick, an amazing natural leader and easy to love off the court with her vivacious and bubbly personality.
"Allira has recently moved into the Elmore area (at Goornong) and has been welcomed with open arms into the community.
"The future of Elmore's netball program is strengthened with her among our treasured crew."
Murray's move to Elmore reunites the versatile youngster with her former junior coach Borserio.
The pair experienced premiership success together at Kangaroo Flat in 2014, with Murray, who was the Roos' co-captain on that day, voted best-on-court in a 22-goal win against Sandhurst.
"We have a huge spiritual and emotional connection and that has kept us as great friends over the years," Borserio said.
"Bridget has always been my diamond in the rough, a standout at training and on game day.
"She is a fierce competitor, who has always executed my coaching instructions."
Holmes and Murray add significant class and skill to a Bloods' line-up seeking to build on two-straight finals appearances.
Their signings will be complemented by the returns to the netball court of key defender Kelsey Niven and Anna Circelli, who has returned to the club after becoming a first-time mum, and former Mitiamo defender Tahnee Cannan, who was recruited ahead of the cancelled 2020 season.
Borserio expects Cannan to spend time at both ends of the court as the Bloods' push to improve on their third-place finish in 2019, when they came within seconds of a grand final berth, beaten by just one goal in the preliminary final against Colbinabbin.
Borserio confirmed star youngster Cayde Hayes, who will complete her Year 11 and 12 on scholarship at Assumption College in Kilmore, would return on weekends to play with Elmore.
One obvious player loss for the Bloods from the 2019 season will be new Melbourne Vixens signing Ruby Barkmeyer.
But the star young goaler has continued to make an impression on her former team-mates and the club's newcomers by taking charge of Elmore's first pre-season session.
"Ruby put the girls through their paces and everyone was ecstatic to have their previous team-mate back with the Bloods," Borserio said.
"It's very exciting times for the club."
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