ECHUCA’S women’s footy side is raring to go for its second-ever season, even if they’re not sure what league they are playing in.
The Northern Country Women’s League, in which Echuca competed in last season, alongside Bendigo Thunder, Kyneton, North Bendigo, Kerang, Benalla Saints, Mooroopna and Shepparton was disbanded late last year, as AFL Country Victoria and AFL Goulburn Murray looked to start their own women’s competitions.
The decision to split the leagues was made 12 months ahead of schedule as the game grew in popularity faster than both associations’ expectations.
At this stage it is unclear what the name of the leagues will be, and what sides have been picked to compete in it.
Head coach Mick McInnes said it is a compliment that the decision had been made sooner than scheduled.
‘‘There’s that much interest in the game now that they’ve decided to go ahead with it earlier, and that’s great,’’ he said.
The club retained senior coach McInnes, who has been nominated for the Sportstar of the Year award due to his part in getting the Bombers’ inaugural season off the ground, as well as helping the side to the finals.
Joining McInnes as assistant coach is last year’s Bombers skipper, and current Richmond VWFL player, Kate Dixon.
‘‘We’ve got much the same coaching line-up as last year, with myself coaching and Kate Dixon as our assistant coach when she’s not playing for Richmond,’’ McInnes said.
McInnes was pleased with the first turnout to pre-season training, held on Tuesday in searing heat.
‘‘Every year it goes on it gets better and better, even in the juniors now it’s looking good. There are a few girls that have grown up playing, and you can really tell the difference (between them and new players).
‘‘Some of the girls have been playing for a while, and some haven’t — you can see a gap in ability, but that gap is slowly getting smaller,’’ he said.
The Bombers’ leadership group is yet to be chosen, and McInnes said that decision will come soon.
‘‘That will be decided in the next couple of weeks. As for the season, we will look to get out there and post some wins on the board and have fun while we’re doing it,’’ he said.
McInnes said the setup is ‘‘going great right now’’ and encouraged any player to get in touch, or turn up to trainings on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
‘‘If anyone is keen to play, they can get in touch with me on 0418 542 663.’’