KILMORE footballers are ready for a return to action in Northern Football Netball League division three with a match against Laurimar on Saturday.
The Blues will travel to Laurimar Reserve to take on the Power, and club president Paul Maher said the side was up for the challenge.
“Laurimar finished top two in the 2019 season and unfortunately for them went out in straight sets in that finals series. We finished third that year and lost our elimination final, so we’ll both be hungry for finals success in the 2021 season,” he said.
“I’m unsure as to how Laurimar has recruited, but similar to us I think they may have gained a few and lost a few. Their practice match results have been quite impressive, although you can’t take too much out of practice match scores because there’s a bit of experimentation going on.
“I’ve got no doubt Laurimar will be up there this year, so it certainly will be a bit of a yardstick for us as to how we’re travelling.”
Maher said the Blues had recruited strongly under coach Nathan Phillips, retaining strong-bodied half forward Mick Marrett and onballer Chris Jackson who signed before the 2020 season but did not play due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Brothers Chris and Ciaran Barton have crossed from Wallan, with Chris expected to play on the ball and Ciaran adding outside run.
“We’ve also got players like Bailey Taylor-Egan, who has been tearing it up on the training track,” Maher said.
“He was injured in the 2019 season so we hardly saw him. Now he’s in great condition and is going to be basically like a new recruit for us, as is Matt Swindells, who played very little in the 2019 season but has returned and performed well in our practice matches.”
Ben Cooney has departed the club to play with Seymour in the Goulburn Valley League, while Riley McLaughlin has moved to Melbourne.
“We wish them all the best, but we’re confident we’ve recruited players to not only cover the loss of those boys, but I’d like to think we’ll be an even stronger unit than we were in 2019. We have some more mature-aged and bigger-bodied players,” Maher said.
Kilmore’s netball program has also expanded to eight teams, something Maher said the club was proud of.
“It’s a record number of teams for the club. It’s a credit to the work of Kristy Fowler and Lisa Mandanici,” he said.
“I’d like to thank all our supporters and sponsors who have stuck with us through the last 12 to 18 months and have assisted the club financially during an extremely difficult time.
“The club will be serving a meal after training on Thursday night, and any supporters are welcome to come down and share the meal with us before our first match on Saturday.”