Bulldogs ready to go again

Kirby Elliott (Jacob Pattison)351744_07

Tara Murray

Gisborne isn’t content to settle for last season’s success in the Bendigo Netball League.

After a stunning come from behind win against the A-grade grand final and five teams making finals, the Bulldogs were one of the standout clubs last season.

Coach Tarryn Rymer said that momentum had continued into the pre-season.

“It’s been really good,” she said of pre-season. “We’ve had huge number for our A-squad and B-squad.

“We’re getting 36 every night at pre-season training. Everyone is pushing pretty hard to earn a spot.

“We’ve worked hard and we’re really fit.”

Rymer said they would again have a young playing squad with some experience mixed in with it.

Several players from the club’s premiership under-17 are stepping up into senior netball, putting more pressure on for spots and add to the talent the in the senior ranks.

The A-grade side will be similar to the side that took out last season’s premiership.

The big omission is star defender Zoe Davies, who is in England playing with the Leeds Rhinos in the Netball Super League.

While losing Davies, the Bulldogs have managed to pick up another defender to fill that role.

Two-time Betty Thompson medallist Maddy Stewart is back after having 12 months off having travelled overseas. She will slot back into the Bulldogs defence end.

“Zoe out and Maddy in,” said Rymer. “Both of those players are special players and add a lot to the side.

“They are very different players, but much the muchness in terms of the fact that both bring a lot to the team in leadership as well as experience.

“Getting Maddy back on court is great for the side,”

Stewart will also coach the A-reserve side, with Rymer saying the two work really well together.

Polly Slater will coach the B-grade side and one of the B-reserve players will coach that side.

Rymer said for the whole playing group, nothing changes with how they approach the season.

“The girls don’t want to rest on last year,” she said. “It is really exciting and everyone is trying to build on last year.

“We’ve put aside what happened last year. Everyone wants to go again and get that taste.

“We want five teams in the finals and hopefully come away with more flags.”

Rymer’s netball commitments this season have increased, joining the Bendigo Strikers Victorian Netball League coaching panel.

She is an assistant coach for the under-23 side which made their debut on Wednesday night.

Bulldogs goaler Torie Skrijel is one of the stars in the team.

Rymer said it was an exciting opportunity.

“I feel like great for me to learning some stuff and take back to Gisborne,” she said. “Build up my experience and share with the girls at Gisborne.”

The Bulldogs have a bye in round one, before starting their season on April 20 with the grand final rematch against Sandhurst.