AFTER a couple of years away from the sidelines, Shellie Davies has made a return to coaching at North Bendigo.
The highly-experienced Davies has enjoyed a long and distinguished playing and now coaching career in netball and will rejoin the club she won a HDFNL A-grade best and fairest with as a player in 2010.
She replaces Lara Daly, who did not seek reappointment after leading the Bulldogs to a sixth-place finish in the shortened 2021 season, with a 6-6 record.
The Bulldogs occupied a spot in the top-five for the bulk of the season until they were beaten by Huntly in what turned out to be the final round of netball played on August 14.
Highlights of their year included an opening round victory over eventual fifth-placed team Huntly and a three-goal win at Mount Pleasant, which finished fourth, in round seven.
Davies last co-coached Bridgewater's A-grade team in 2019 and before that spent time as an assistant coach of VNL club Monash University Storm's (now Hawks) 19-and-under team and years in various senior and junior roles at Kangaroo Flat and Heathcote.
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After weighing up a potential move back into coaching, Davies, who will take charge of both A-grade and A-reserve, said she jumped at the chance to return to Atkins Street to lead the Bulldogs.
"I was contacted by a few people at clubs about coaching and said 'no', but when Lauren Bell from North gave me a call, we had a really good connection on the phone and then I met with the club and from there we felt we were all on the same page," she said.
"It feels like it's a good fit and we are all moving in the same direction.
"I'm super-excited to be back into coaching, there's a real vibe around North Bendigo.
"The girls are very excited and I'm expecting a really good year."
Read more: Bears bouncing back into LVFNL A-grade
While she has not coached since 2019, Davies has never left the game, spending this season umpiring games across four central Victorian leagues.
"I actually got to see North when they played Elmore and while Elmore did win they did really well," she said.
"The scoreline didn't indicate the game, they got a lot of turnovers and have a really good base to work with.
"The coaches from this year have done a great job and I will look to build on that."
While 12 years have passed since her previous two-year stint at North Bendigo, during which she coached the club's under-17 and B-grade teams, Davies expects the second time around to be just as enjoyable.
"I absolutely enjoyed my time there, it was only that friends urged me to come back to Heathcote and take on coaching again that I went back," she said.
"North is really focused on developing a good culture and really developing the skill-base of their seniors and juniors.
"They really want to concentrate on getting those kids rolling through and being competitive, so I've been really impressed with the club's outlook."
In another exciting appointment, A-grade goal attack Imogen Davies (no relation) will coach the Bulldogs' under-17s.
A stellar first playing season in red, white and blue for Davies after crossing from BFNL club Eaglehawk culminated in her winning the club's A-grade best and fairest award.
When the 2022 season kicks-off next April, North Bendigo will be looking to make a return to the finals for the first time since 2016.
The Bulldogs will hold tryouts at Atkins Street on Thursday December 2 at 6.30pm, Sunday December 5 at noon, and Tuesday December 7 at 6.30pm.
For expressions of interest, click here.
The coaches from this year have done a great job and I will look to build on that.- Shellie Davies
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