Matrics will be without long-serving captain, Sheree Wingard, who retired last year, but head coach Jacqui Illman is looking forward to seeing what her squad can do this season.
“We haven’t done much recruiting, given the success of our Reserves and Inter One’s last year. I am looking forward to giving opportunities to our club players to continue to develop them”, said Illman.
“Our young mid-courters have impressed me over the preseason, in particular Tyler Orr and Hannah Schwarz, and I’m looking forward to seeing their improvements over the course of the season.”
Illman is expecting a strong contest with Oakdale in round one.
“Oakdale finished last season very strongly with two impressive finals performances. They have recruited extremely well and I am expecting them to be big improvers and real premiership contenders. Round one will be a great challenge for us to see where we are at.”
There have been some big changes at Oakdale during the off-season, with experienced campaigners Kylie Jarrett, Luka Thompson and Louise Broadbridge all retiring. Oakdale have recruited Rebecca Moyne (Tango), Laura Scriven (Jaguars) and Georgie Virgo (Garville) to fill those gaps, but head coach Brian Lines acknowledges it may take some time for his side to click.
“With such a large amount of change in personnel, we will be looking to improve in all areas this season and forming our new connections,” said Lines.
“I am really looking forward to seeing the continued development from Sophie Agostino and Mary Wilson, who will have a great opportunity to work with the experience of Georgie. Elly Cleggett, who was goal keeper of the year 2016, is also on track for another outstanding season.”
This is the second year in a row that Oakdale have played one of the top sides in the first round, but Lines is excited to see what his team can do.
“We are not expecting to be perfect from round one, but what we have committed to is growing each and every week to ensure that we take part in the final series again in 2017,” said Lines.
“We love this opportunity and it will be a good measure for us. The strength of Matrics will always be a challenge, but this is how we grow. You have to play the best to be better.”