HEATHCOTE Football Netball Club is welcoming back some former players in its bid to climb up the ladder in 2018.
The Saints finished seventh on the Heathcote and District Football League ladder in 2017 with four wins to their name.
It was an improvement on the previous season when the senior side only recorded one win for the year. Coach Luke Bell is back for a second year at the helm and while Jack Paisley and Rebecca Dickinson have been installed as joint presidents for 2018. Paisley said numbers on the training track in the lead up to Christmas had been ‘‘pretty solid’’.
‘‘There were a lot of fresh new faces and good numbers,’’ he said. ‘‘Last year was a good foundation to steady the ship and build a good platform for this year.’’
Paisley said recruiting had been going well with the club welcoming back two ruckmen to the club. Daniel Russell (Northern Territory Thunder) and Damien King (Wallan) are two talls who will add some height while midfielder Daniel Anderson has crossed from Goulburn Valley League club Rochester.
The club held a ‘‘Meet the Coaches Day’’ before the Christmas break with more than 50 people in attendance.
Former AFL footballer Mick McGuane met with the coaches to give some insights and advice for the club to consider as it looks to build on last year’s improvement.
The session lasted more than three hours and his talk gave all present an increased enthusiasm as the new season approaches.
McGuane will act as a mentor for the coaching panel throughout the year to help the team’s development.
As well as Bell, the Heathcote football coaching panel includes reserves coaches Mick Ayres and Carl Obst, while the thirds will be led by Bob Beare. John McCarthy will be the chairman of selectors.
On the netball side of the club, Dickinson was delighted to introduce newly appointed A grade coach Lorrae Closter.
Closter played her early netball at Bacchus Marsh where she also took on a coaching role.
Closter then moved to Beaufort as A grade coach and last year played at South Bendigo in the Bendigo Football League where she took out the Bloods’ A grade best and fairest award.
Closter now finds herself at the Saints who finished 2017 at the bottom of the ladder after failing to record a win all year.
Closter’s focus is on making the team more competitive in 2018 and is looking to bring in some new players into the existing playing group.
Pre-season training resumes on Tuesday, February 6.
The HDFL season starts on April 7 with Heathcote having the bye in round one.
The Saints’ season kicks into gear in round two when it hosts Colbinabbin on April 14.