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Bloods off and away


ANOTHER football-netball season has started for the Trafalgar Football-Netball Club.
The familiar sight and sounds of country football and netball are currently permeating, providing the soundtrack for the next six months.
Appointments for the 2024 season see Tom Hallinan back for his third year at the helm as senior coach.
Joining the crew this season is Kev Hennessy, who has bravely stepped up to coach the reserves.
It is great to have a full complement of junior teams back this season, and coaches have done a great job rounding up the numbers. Cooper Burgess and Matt Devon are providing the funnest time imaginable coaching the Thirds, while Jamie Marslen has made the move up from the junior club to coach the Fourths, which has provided good familiarity to the players.
On the netball court, coaches are: Dani Davies (A Grade), Alesha Hallinan (B Grade), Angie Blackshaw (C Grade), Ellie Farmer (17s), Calli Koch (15s) and Bella Rosato (13s).
At time of print, two games were completed in the Ellinbank District Football-Netball League season.
Those looking at the senior football side on paper for the first game may have been excused for making comment at the sheer mix of youth and experience.
On the field for senior football, Traf had a disappointing final term that saw a 10-point deficit turn into a 27-point loss against Lang Lang in Round 1.
Among the bright spots however was Isaac Caroleo kicking three goals on senior debut. Others to play well were Jace Butler, Brayde Bosman, Daniel Baker, Liam Coulthard and Brad Hoffmann.
Reserves only lost by 14 points, with Zack Brown playing well in defeat, along with Owen Zimora, Jaxen Rowe, Ben Cunico, Keegan Tullett and expert mediator, Blake Zimora.  
Thirds lost a thriller by just three points. In a pulsating finish, the ball was in attack for Traf as the final siren sounded.
The Bloods probably should never have been in that position, as they kicked four goals to none in the first half, and then didn’t score in the last term.
Even usually placid coach, Cooper Burgess may have been tempted to vent his frustration, having built it all up ever since an afternoon at Morwell involving leg side fielding restrictions.      
Juddson Ryan, Toby McCabe, Louis Hennessy, Brock Gill, Angus Carlson and Riley Timbs got the nod as Traf’s best.
The Fourths had something of a reverse, coming from behind to win by five points.
The Bloods trailed by a point at three quarter time, but kicked a goal and kept their opponents to a solidary behind in the last.
Will Mills, Wesley Scott, Dylan van der Stoep, Matt Kersten, Riley Peters and Tait Kersten did a good job.
On the netball court, B Grade was the only senior team to salute.
B stood for best as the Bloods won 34-30, with Lateisha Edwards the most outstanding.
A Grade only lost by two, and were well-served by Grace McRae. C Grade went down comfortably, although Tayla Kleevan was able to hold her head high.
In juniors, the 17s got the points courtesy of a 31-27 win. Tessa Farrell played well, as did Madison Schrader in the 15s defeat. Skyla Embleton also put in a good performance in the 13s.
The next round saw Traf host Poowong, where the senior side recorded victory.
Traf led at every change, and in what turned out to be a pretty good game in the final term, held on to win by 15 points.
Such a margin was perhaps long odds at three quarter time, when the Bloods had six goals to one on the board, before Poowong rallied with four of their own.  
Dylan Gauci got the nod as best-on in the win, after doing a sound job shutting down key Poowong player Jack Hazendonk. Others to play well were Klay Butler, Maclan McInnes, Dylan Farrell, Jordyn Baker and Connor Noonan.
Reserves had a commanding win, getting Kev his first four points as coach of what is the hardest grade to coach in any sport. Blake Zimora was busy early with a couple of goals, while Ben Cunico, Caden Webb, Tyron Stevens, Oliver Hennessy and Brodie Malady also did some damage.  
The Thirds survived a late scare, holding on by a goal. After controlling the first three quarters, Traf failed to score in the last quarter, but did enough to ensure they had enough time to sing the song and make it to Traralgon to catch up on goings on.
Toby McCabe, Josh Mills, Andrew Daly, Brock Gill, Matt Kersten and Jordan Chapman were best.
Fourths went down to a strong opposition, and will look to take some learnings out of the contest. Will Mills, Olly White, Brodie Gauci and Zak Larkin showed their skills aren’t just confined to cricket, while Tait Kersten and Ryan Davis also battled hard.
Senior netball enjoyed a clean sweep, with most games decided by significant margins.
Traf nearly doubled their opponent’s score in A Grade, winning 49-25. Bella Rosato was best, taking off from Lateisha Edwards, who played a blinder in B Grade, which the team won 47-32.
C Grade had a closer game, but still nearly won by 10, getting up 35-26 thanks to the efforts of Sydney Blackshaw.
In junior stakes, the 15s were the only team to toast victory.
Izzy Nardone was best in the 25-21 win. Tessa Farrell was good for the 17s, as was Willow Rantall in the 13s.