A year that didn’t go to plan for the Cougars senior Men’s side, whilst the club found success in a division two Netball premiership a second consecutive Preliminary Final for the senior Women.
Ladder Position: 6th (6-12, 73.13%)
Leading Goal Kicker: Darcy Fritsch (38 goals)
A couple of steps backward for the Cougars after a successful 2022 season campaign where the side made the Division Three finals series. They were unable to reach those same heights, starting the year with seven losses from their first nine matches.
The club’s record at Coldstream Reserve in recent years has led to so much of their success, the ground a fortress when the side is up and about. This year, they lost five of their first six games on their home deck, unable to assert their authority at home.
Injuries played a big reason in their early-season form, with several players unable to get going such as key star Lauchlan Craig who missed several matches, and recruit Bryce Batty, who missed the entire season.
There’s no question that the club did face potential relegation trouble at certain points of the season. But Coldstream did enough in the back half of the year, winning three of their last six games and leapfrogging into sixth spot at the end of the Home and Away season.
Chad Rogers stepped down at the end of the 2023 campaign, for a fresh voice to step in and lead the club next year.
In a season where player availability was such an issue, the one certainty the Cougars had each week was Darcy Carrigan. A leader on the field, the skipper averaged 27 disposals, almost the best player on the ground each round. He made the Team of the Year for Division Three, while also finishing third in the league best and fairest with 18 votes.
In the back half, Daniel Versteegen had another great season, averaging over 25 disposals and 8 Rebound 50s per game.
Despite just eleven games, Jesse Lehmann was solid, listed in the best six times, playing in the ruck and working closely alongside the likes of Carrigan and Craig.
Darcy Fritsch was unavailable for patches of the season, but when he was playing with Coldstream, he was having a giant impact. The Key Forward averaged 3.2 goals per game, finishing with 38 from 12 games.
Best Win: Round 16 – Coldstream 12.14 86 def. Warrandyte 3.6 24 @Coldstream Reserve
Certainly, the side’s most complete performance of the year came in Round 16 when the Cougars hosted the Bloods.
A 62-point win saw the Cougars finish with 21 more scoring shots than Warrandyte, comfortably leading at every break. Darcy Fritsch returned from VFL duties, slotting back into the squad to kick five majors. Not only that, but he also finished with an incredible 26 disposals and 13 marks.
Defensively it was their best performance for the year, only conceding three goals for the entire game. The midfield played a role in that, controlling the centre clearances and having 31 more inside 50s than the Bloods.
The win also came at a crucial time of the year, with the side fighting to stay ahead of Whitehorse on the ladder.
The club have already confirmed their new senior coach for the 2024 season. Jarrod Bayliss was appointed Coldstream coach, having previously coached in the league at Park Orchards, taking the club to a premiership.
With success outside of the league as well, it’s a great appointment for the club which will without a doubt consider itself a great chance to return to the finals.
A lot of sides including the Cougars were missing several of their key players throughout the year. It makes it difficult to forecast how the division may shape next season, already reasonably close.
Ladder Position: 2nd (9-2, 312.50%)
Leading Goal Kicker: Maddison Stark (21 goals)
A great season for the Cougars, making it back-to-back Preliminary Final appearances. The club made improvements on the field, dropping just two games to finish second on the ladder behind Mooroolbark.
Coldstream was the number one attacking side in the division this year, averaging 56 points per game.
Making the finals for the second year running, the Cougars this time came up against the Mustangs in the first week of finals. Unfortunately, they left their run too late, outscoring Mooroolbark in the final term after giving up a five-goal head start.
The double chance meant they would face Mitcham in the Preliminary Final a week later. It was a tight low-scoring game throughout all four quarters. They took a three-point lead at Half Time before Mitcham hit the front in the third. It was a defensive battle for the remainder of the game, the Cougars fought hard but were unable to take back the lead, losing by two points.
All in all, a successful year which they’ll look to continue building on from in season 2024.
Making the 2023 Division Three and Four Team of the Year was Sophie Stark and Stacey Moate-Glider.
Sophie Stark had a fantastic year in the midfield, listed in the best seven times, also adding value up forward, with eight goals for the year.
Moate-Glider was just as impressive, ten times in the best, finishing the season on fire. She had two very strong finals performances against both Mooroolbark and Mitcham.
With the number one attacking line-up in Division Four, Coldstream had multiple players that finished with more than ten goals for the year. Maddison Stark led from the front with 21 goals, and Abbey Broughan wasn’t far behind, with 19 goals from ten games. Casey Bartlett and Jessie Mcilrath also was very reliable in front of the big sticks, combining for 25 majors.
Best Win: Round Two – Coldstream 2.7 19 def. Mooroolbark 2.3 15 @Coldstream Reserve
One of the club’s most impressive wins of the season came early on when they took care of the eventual Premiers, defeating Mooroolbark by four points. Unlike many of their other wins across the season, it was more of a contested battle.
On the wide spaces at Coldstream Reserve, the game remained tight all morning. The Cougars missed some opportunities in front of goal, keeping the Mustangs in striking range. But they held up defensively to hold on for an impressive four-point win.
The biggest focus for the club now is appointing a new senior coach for the Senior Women’s side in season 2024.
Depending on how the divisions stack up, if the side can maintain their current list, there’s no question that they’ll be once again in the premiership hunt.
Coldstream was one of the leading clubs in the 2023 Bendigo Bank Netball season, having five teams compete in the competition.
The team they had competing in the top division, Coldstream Grey, finished sixth with six wins for the year. The Cougars only just missed out on a finals position by a game and a half, a very strong effort in the highest division.
In Division Two, the club celebrated a premiership with Coldstream Black having a dominant year. They finished on top of the ladder with a record of 13 wins, three draws and just one loss, a great percentage of 135 per cent.
A top-of-the-table finish saw them play Oakleigh District in the first Semi-Final. A strong start by the Cougars had the minor premiers in front at the first two breaks, before Oakleigh District powered home to secure a Grand Final spot. The loss meant Coldstream had to defeat Knox in a Preliminary Final to have another shot at Oakleigh. Jessica Ford starred with 36 goals as the side bounced back from a three-point deficit at Half Time to run out seven-point winners.
Ford was once again crucial the following week in the Grand Final as Coldstream had to fight back after a slow first quarter. She put together a 30-goal performance as the Cougars won by three points, taking home the Division Two premiership.
The best on-court performance from Jessica Ford earned her the Blue Ribbon Medal. A great achievement, along with her Division Two league best and fairest medal, shooting 600 goals for the year.
Coldstream White competed in Division Five of the competition, competitive across the year, finishing with a 50% win ratio, going 8-8.
Meanwhile, their division seven team, Coldstream Blue, made it all the way to a Preliminary Final after their second record of 13 and 3. Their first final was against Ferntree Gully, who they had no problems against, winning by 13 points at Waverley. The following week, they led the Waverley Blues at Half Time, before being overrun in the second half. The highlight of the year for the side was Lauren Beaton winning the Division Seven league Best and Fairest, shooting 223 goals for the year.
The fifth side that Coldstream had competing was Coldstream Green in Division Nine, winning just one game for the season, coming in Round Ten against East Burwood.