SOUTH Bendigo has unveiled another weapon in its bid to challenge BFNL netball's big three of Sandhurst, Kangaroo Flat and Gisborne.
Former Eaglehawk goal shooter and dual White Hills premiership star Ash Gilmore made a surprise debut for the Bloods in their 24-goal win over Strathfieldsaye at the QEO on Saturday.
With former Kangaroo Flat premiership goal attack Jamie-Lee Clohesy currently unavailable, Gilmore adds to the Bloods' options in the shooting circle, where she will share minutes with young gun Chloe Langley and impressive 2022 season recruit Olivia Mason.
Bloods coach Jannelle Hobbs said her new recruit had fitted in perfectly against the Storm.
"Our goal circle was amazing on Saturday, all of Ash, Chloe Langley and Liv Mason. Very tall and athletic," she said.
"Ash wasn't playing this year, but I had approached her previously about playing, but she was already committed.
"But we were keen to bring her in when the opportunity arose recently and are glad to have her.
"She was fantastic against the Storm. (She) fitted in perfectly. She came on in the second half and just didn't miss a beat.
"She's so strong and athletic and the girls are really glad to have her in. It's a great inclusion and will give us a lot more depth again.
"We're lucky to pick up such a talent nearly halfway through the year.
"We're really looking forward to her getting to know our structures and court play a bit better, but she will be a huge asset."
Gilmore, a former basketballer and a premiership netballer with White Hills in 2018 and '19, last played BFNL netball with Eaglehawk during the shortened 2021 season.
The Bloods are preparing for a tough clash against Maryborough this weekend and will round out their first round commitments against Kangaroo Flat on June 11.
A 65-41 win over the Storm ensured the Bloods remained in fourth spot with a 4-2-1 record, two points clear of fifth-placed Castlemaine but two points below Gisborne in third.
Hobbs could not have been happier with Saturday's win
"The girls played really well - everyone played their role and it was a pretty complete effort," she said.
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"Chloe Gray is just killing it - she was a standout again. Her feeds and her drive through the midcourt were outstanding.
"Her work with Keiarah (Brooks) has been great - they are a great combination.
"We threw her into wing defence in the last quarter and she was just as good in there.
"Chloe (Langley) only played two-and-a-half quarter, but shot at over 80-per cent.
"And Steph Goode in defence was amazing and played a really strong game.
"It was a bit of a luxury bringing Ash Gilmore on. I'm hoping once we get Alicia McGlashan back we'll be a more settled team after being a bit up and down with injury and illness."
Hobbs is hopeful McGlashan, who broke her wrist during the Bloods' round four draw against Kyneton, will be back on court sometime early in the second half of the season.
Her return will give the Bloods an A-grade list of 10 players heading towards their third straight top-five finish.
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