New Pies keen to leave mark

March 29, 2024 BY

Maggie mania: Castlemaine player Riley Pedretti. Photos: BFNL/ SAA IMAGING

AN ATTACK packed with more marking power is what Castlemaine will have on field for the Good Friday start to the Bendigo Bank Bendigo Football Netball League’s senior footy season.

It’s an all-Magpies clash as Castlemaine hosts Maryborough at Camp Reserve for the stand-alone game.

Among those in the forward 50m arc for Castlemaine will be new coach Michael Hartley who brings AFL experience from stints with Essendon and Hawthorn, and at VFL level with Collingwood.

Hartley will team up with the likes of Bailey Henderson and Brad Keogh in Castlemaine’s attack.

There’s a buzz about a new-look Castlemaine which has brought in quality recruits and had several players return to the club.

Those back at the Camp include Declan Slingo from Pyramid Hill, Darby Semmens and Kalan Huntly from Harcourt, and Will Moran from Sandhurst.

A pre-season bolter is Golden Square premiership player Zavier Murley.

A key to Castlemaine’s game plan will be generating and capitalising on more forward 50m entries.

“Matt Filo and Callum McConachy are in and under and capable of winning plenty of the footy,” Hartley said.

“Liam Wilkinson was among the best in the practice match against Kerang and capable of holding down any key position.”

Hartley said having a stand-alone match was great for both clubs.

“At Castlemaine it’s a new beginning. The club is confident of drawing a big crowd and starting the season with a win.”

The season opener will be a huge challenge for a Maryborough team jointly coached by Coby Perry and Matt Johnston.Recruits at Princes Park include Robert Castiglia from Westmeadows; Seb Collins from Sandhurst; and Beau Trahar from Leitchville Gunbower.Ash Humphrey and Fraser Russell add much-needed experience to a squad in which Joel Swatton, Kya Lanfranchi and Darcy Bond were standouts for much of last season.

The Magpies also welcome back Kirk Looby from St Arnaud and Ronnie Feeney from Maryborough Giants. At the netball, Castlemaine’s A-grade team has a rest as Maryborough is not in the top flight this season.

The A-reserve netball match starts at 2pm. The senior footy match starts at 2.20pm.