CASTLEMAINE'S return to A-grade netball in 2022 has gathered gale-force momentum with a trio of quality signings set to take to the court next season.
Following on from their high-profile recruitment of former Super Netball star Fiona Fowler as joint coach, the BFNL Magpies have announced the arrival of further top talent in Mikaela Vaughan, Maddie Carter and Kelsie Rainbow.
Vaughan - a training partner with New South Wales Swifts in 2017 before earning a call-up for their round 14 clash against Queensland Firebirds - brings a wealth of top-level experience to Castlemaine.
The versatile goal attack/goal shooter, who played her junior netball in Wangaratta, has been a captain and premiership player with Australian Netball League (ANL) team Victorian Fury and is fresh from winning a Victorian Netball League (VNL) club MVP at Melbourne University Lightning, where she is a team-mate of Fowler's and fellow Magpies newcomer Rainbow.
"Mikaela's attacking skills won't be going unnoticed in the BFNL in 2022," an ecstatic Magpies joint coach Gary Cooke said.
"And we can't wait to see Kelsie Rainbow in the 'black and white', working with our talented local players."
Midcourter Rainbow, another former Super Netball training partner, having spent 2018 and '19 with Collingwood Magpies under former head-coaches Kristy Keppich-Birrell and Rob Wright, was a member of the Tasmanian Magpies' ANL premiership team in 2018.
She also makes her way to Camp Reserve via the VNL Lightning where she was a member of this year's championship division team of the year alongside Fowler.
Continuing the flow of traffic between the Lightning and Castlemaine, Carter - the most experienced of the three recruits - boasts a stellar playing and coaching resume.
A former ANL premiership player with the Tasmanian Magpies, she is a current VNL championship coach and former captain and premiership player with Melbourne University.
She also spent time in the Victorian under-21 and various Australian squads.
Carter was a 2019 premiership player and a team-mate of Fowler under new Magpies coach Cooke at Central Highlands club Hepburn in 2019 and shapes as another key for a club looking to re-establish itself back in A-grade for the first time since 2017.
"Maddie Carter's skills and knowledge will be an incredible asset to the midcourt of this new Castlemaine A-squad and we can't wait to see her on court with Fiona Fowler again," Cooke said.
In a boost for the club's young emerging and existing talent, Fowler and Cooke have lured former Australian Diamonds star Eloise Southby-Halbish to the Magpies to provide some specialist goaling/attacking coaching.
The former international made 34 appearances for the Diamonds from 1998 to 2006 and was a member of the teams which won Commonwealth Games gold at Manchester in 2002 and silver at the 2003 World Championships.
Attention for coaches Cooke and Fowler will now turn to next month's tryouts at Castlemaine's Wesley Hill Recreation Reserve, starting on Friday, November 12.
A second tryout date has been set for Thursday, November 18.
Tryouts run from 6.30pm to 8pm.
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