A GATHERING of Gippsland League coaches and officials converged at Dal Mondo in Traralgon last Wednesday, March 27 to launch the 2024 Gippsland League season.

To start proceedings, speeches were made by Gippsland League Board Chair, Andrew Livingstone, while radio station TRFM announced they would once again be the voice of the Gippsland League.

Now entering their 10th year in affiliation, TRFM aims to call all 10 Gippsland League teams over the airwaves by Round 4, further announcing that they will call the two double-headers in Rounds 2 and 4.

We will hear the voice of the TRFM call team on Sundays too, in Rounds 3 and 9.

Premierships flags from 2023 were officially handed over to clubs shortly after, with Moe presented the A Grade pennant and Traralgon the 17 and Under.

The size of the flags continued to grow, with Leongatha’s senior premiership flag almost big enough to double as a bedsheet.

NETBALL coaches spoke on how their teams are shaping up toward Round 1, which officially begins this Saturday.

Moe’s A Grade coach Ashlea Stubbs said how lucky they were to retain almost the whole premiership side of 2023, losing only Abby Gregorovich.

Roar: Moe player Emma Sculley and coach Ashlea Stubbs accept the 2023 A Grade premiership flag. Photograph supplied

“We’re not silly to underestimate anybody, to be honest with you, we’re certainly aware of Warragul’s win with Emma Ryde but we will not back away from any challenge,” she said.

Morwell’s Courtney Gath touched on the disappointing 2023 Grand Final loss.

“We had an awesome season last year; unfortunately, it ended the way it did – credit to Moe, they had an outstanding game,” she said.

With a couple of big outs in Tanya Budge, Claire Marks and Daisy Hill, Garth said the Tigers were covering the outs well.

“We’ve got a few good ins. We’ve got Bella Bettridge from B Grade in Traralgon who’s come across, she’ll take that goal-shooter position.”

With handy inclusions in Tiffany Boatman and Hayley Stringer, Garth feels confident Morwell will be just fine when Round 1 rolls around.

Traralgon coach Amy Harrison said she wanted to start the season off with a bang.

“We’ve got Stacey Jacobsen, or O’Brien as she’s better known, coming back from having a baby – not that you’d know it,” she said.

A strong midcourter who facilitates scores is definitely a handy inclusion for the Maroons, bringing some experience to the youthful team.

Harrison also noted Grace van Tilburg, a young, up-and-coming shooter who will turn heads in A Grade this year.

FOLLOWING the netball was the football coach panels, beginning with the bottom five teams of 2023, followed by the finalists.

Morwell senior coach Boyd Bailey mentioned that preseason had been going well for the Tigers.

“The boys have put together a pretty good preseason and pretty good numbers on the track pretty much the whole time,” he said.

“Injury free, some hopefully looking nice for Round 1.”

The Tigers have recruited to their needs, highlighting height as a quality they lacked last year.

“It’s no secret we probably needed to top up our key position stocks … definitely went out with that in mind, we’ve picked up a couple of boys who could fill a couple of holes for us,” Bailey said.

Bailey looks forward to seeing what they can add in 2024, as Morwell hopes to return to finals.

Dylan Loprese from Traralgon mentioned there was a few opportunities waiting to be taken in the senior side with a number of exits, yet some returning players will provide some relief for those outs.

“The young kids coming up are all talented, and we’re pretty lucky at Traralgon to have that,” Loprese said.

Moe senior coach Declan Keilty highlighted the fact that, like many other clubs, there is room for opportunity, with a lot of experience walking out the door.

“We’ve had a few boys move on and had a few guys try out at other clubs, but hopefully its a good opportunity for some young blokes to come in and step up and really test themselves,” he said.

Ex-GWS player Tim Golds is now a Lion and Keilty hopes to play him up forward.

Some returning players will help steady the ship, adding more maturity and experience to the list.