AFTER consecutive top-five finishes in BFNL A-grade netball, South Bendigo is leaving no stone unturned in its quest to challenge for a top-three spot next season.
Fresh from signing multiple BFNL premiership defender Alicia McGlashan and VNL experienced midcourter Chloe Gray, the Bloods have added another two skillful recruits they hope can help propel them up the ladder.
The Bloods have lured reigning North Central association best and fairest Claudia Griffiths, from Donald, and convinced Shepparton Swans goal shooter Olivia Mason her future lies in the BFNL.
Together with Gray, McGlashan and premiership-winning goal attack Jamie-Lee Clohesy, who is returning to action after a season off in 2021, Griffiths and Mason add to an exciting existing player list, headed by back-to-back best and fairest Chloe Langley and captain Keiarah Brooks.
That will be further bolstered by the addition of former Ballarat league midcourter Hollie Horbury.
Horbury, the wife of the club's senior football coach Nathan, was set to line up with the Bloods during the cancelled 2020 season, but had a year off in 2021 and is now itching to return to the court.
Griffiths, who claimed the North Central medal in her first full A-grade season at age 17, is excited to be having a crack at the BFNL.
"I had a few ex-Donald girls Keiarah Brooks and Amber Hollis convince me to further my netball and come to a bigger league," she said.
"That's really inspired me to develop my skills and follow my passion for netball.
"There's no doubt it will be more competitive here (in the BFNL).
"South has been a very welcoming club and very encouraging and positive."
Griffiths, who played handful of A-grade games for Donald as a 15-year-old in 2019 before the cancelled 2020 season, brings plenty of versatility to the Bloods.
Predominantly a centre, she is equally adept at goal attack.
Griffiths is hopeful a switch in leagues will coincide with a period of increased success at Harry Trott Oval.
She will remain based in Donald during 2022, where she will be completing her year 12 at Donald High School.
Equally excited to have landed at South Bendigo, Mason makes the move after six seasons with the Goulburn Valley league's Swans.
The 23-year-old has been based in Bendigo, where she is a qualified electrician, for a few years, but had been travelling back to Shepparton to play her netball.
"Swans was my home club and I knew a lot of people there having played there since under-17s, so I was pretty committed to going back to train," she said.
"But I am just a little bit too busy now, so I am well and truly committed here in Bendigo and have bought a house here."
Mason revealed she had been contacted by Bloods coach Jannelle Hobbs as far back as 2017, but she had remained committed to the Swans.
"It's interesting how it works out, I contacted one of my friends who plays here and managed to get on to Jannelle and Gill (operations manager Gill Davey) and they were wonderful," she said.
"I actually missed the registration for trials, but they still let me come on down to trial, but then I actually managed to get a tear in my hamstring and couldn't trial.
"But I stuck it out for the last trial - I was a bit rusty, but luckily they saw something they liked.
"I'm really looking forward to the challenge."
Mason brings with her plenty of finals experience having played in them in each of her A-grade seasons at the Swans.
Her lone GVFNL premiership was achieved at 17-and-under level in 2015 when she was adjudged best on court.
Chloe Gray, who has joined South Bendigo from Riddell District league club Wallan and will also line-up with VNL club Southern Saints next season, is excited to be joining one of Victoria's strongest netball competitions.
"I was looking online for info on the BFNL and I saw quite a few familiar big names from my VNL involvement, it was quite exciting," she said.
"It's really promising seeing just how strong this league is.
"I'm really looking forward to developing my netball, it's a crucial year after having a year off last year and an interrupted one this year.
"Getting all these opportunities, like VNL, I want to keep on developing my midcourt game."
A Victorian state mixed team representative, Gray made the transition from goaler to midcourter in 2021.
It's a move, she believes, that has made her a smarter and more rounded player.
"It's a good contrast, the boys have that amazing aerial jump whereas girls don't really have that," she said.
"Playing mixed, you assess the game differently and you become smarter and more controlled.
"It's a lot different ball game, but it does make you think more."
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