Henry sees end of the playing line

AFTER more than 20 years in blue and white, South Mildura’s Demalza Henry says she’s ready to wrap up her netball career and take a step back.

The three-time premiership club legend, who will play her 250th A Grade game on July 10 against Mildura, says she’s been lucky to escape serious injury on the court and will see out the 2021 season before wrapping up her impressive netball career.

“I started with South in 1998 and initially started off as a goalie, but in my first few years with the club I sort of played anywhere because we didn’t really have a lot of numbers,” Henry said.

“I pretty much played wherever I was needed, mainly as a goalie right up until we won our first premiership (2009), then I changed to the wing and have stayed there since,”

Henry attributes her longevity to remaining “relatively injury-free”.

“It’s a long time retired, so I figured I’ll continue to play while I can … but I’m definitely looking at this being my last year,” Henry says.

“Both my husband (Mildura Heat playing coach Calvin Henry) and I are playing basketball, and we’ve both said this will be out last year in sport.

“I think it’s time for the younger ones to make their way through and give them a chance.”

Henry admits the juggling act between sporting commitments, work and family isn’t always easy.

“The older kids are good, they can pretty much look after themselves,” she said with a laugh.

“Both older girls play netball, so they help us out when I’m playing, looking after their younger sister, and they all just sort of follow us wherever they go … to trainings and games.

“Thursdays in our house are pretty full-on, with Calvin and I both training and me going straight from basketball to netball training.

“Calvin does the daycare pick up of our youngest, then we meet and do a swap-over. We’ve got the schedule pretty down-pat.”

Henry says the flexibility offered by South has been a contributing factor to her returning for the 2021 season.

“Because I’ve been at the club for so long, they were willing to be that bit more flexible and try and work in with my schedule, which is great and really supportive,” she says.

“When you’ve been a part of a club this long you really do build those life-long relationships and friendships and they end up being your family in a way.

“Both my basketball and netball coaches and teammates have been so supportive and flexible for me to do both (sports).”

Speaking about her most memorable moments, Henry says interleague games and winning premierships are at the top.

“Getting to play with all the girls who are normally your opposition is always a highlight, these are the best girls in the league and so that’s always memorable,” she says.

“The younger ones coming through now definitely show a different style of game to what we used to play, so that’s good.

“The game goes through those phases where it changes and it’s nice to be able to be a part of that progression.

“We’ve got some talented young girls coming through the ranks, but for me, the rest of the season will be us plugging away, hopefully making that finals position.”

Story and photo courtesy of Sunraysia Daily

Round 1 – Netball

IRYMPLE started the much-anticipated SNFL season with an impressive A Grade win against South Mildura at Sarah Oval yesterday.

The 60-44 battle was fought in front of a packed venue.

Irymple coach Travis Coombes put the triumph down to the team’s “to-be-reckoned-with” backline.

“It was a good game … our girls played well and I think the score reflected the way we played,” Coombes said.

And while he didn’t know what to call the game style because he’s a basketball coach”, Coombes said the team prevailed because it “just gave them nothing in the first half”.

“If we can do that and score most times that’s all we really need … and that’s what we did today,” he said.

“What I’ve brought over from basketball is a focus on possession of the ball … and not throwing the ball away.

“And our shooters made a very high percentage of shots.

“This week we’re going to focus on control, looking after the ball and just getting the kids to get back to the ball instead of throwing it long … presenting to the ball.”

Coombes said South Mildura had a few players back who hadn’t trained much, or at all, and “that might have thrown South out a bit”.

“But our girls were really good,” Coombes said.

And while South Mildura coach Loretta Thompson said it was the first time the women had played together as a team, she was impressed by the more experienced players taking leadership on the court.

“Our captain Maddy Toms really stood up today and directed the girls … we had some young girls and some new A Graders,” Thompson said.

“Clearly our fitness is something we’ll be working on.

“Doing fitness is entirely different to being match-fit so getting into a few matches will be good for our performance.

“And sometimes our decision-making wasn’t great with some of our passes, so we’ll be looking at that.

“Again, that comes with experience.”

But the coach said she was proud of the way the women “showed up” and the energy they brought to round 1.

“In the second half we were right up there with everything,” she said.

Story and photo courtesy of Sunraysia Daily

Let’s get the ball rolling

ONE of the biggest reasons why people play sport at a community level is for the social connections.

And this was sorely missed in 2020 after the netball and footy seasons were crash-tackled by COVID-19.

South Mildura netball star Maddison Toms has reflected on the season that never was – and why she’ll never take for granted again the camaraderie that sport delivers.

“It’s been so tough for everyone at the sporting clubs,” said Toms, who is also a registered nurse at Mildura Base Hospital.

“Not just from the physical benefits of sport, but also the social side of things.

“All of the players and anyone connected to clubs missed having something to look forward to on weekends in 2020.”

The former Sunraysia interleague player said she was looking forward to getting back into the team environment when the pre-season starts in the next fortnight.

“Saturdays have been very different in 2020 – so my hope is that 2021 allows us to get the clubs back together and we can enjoy the social side of sport, as much as the physical part,” Toms said.

“It’s been such a stressful year. I feel drained. But I’m ready to hit the reset button for the new year.

“I don’t take the simple things in life for granted now. And that includes spending time with my teammates.

“I never thought I’d say this, but I’ve missed going to training.

“So bring on pre-season training and hopefully we can have a 2021 season that is as close to normal as possible.”

Story and photo courtesy of Sunraysia Daily

Bulldogs brace for finals

WITH third place on the ladder under wraps, reigning premiers South Mildura are steeling themselves for an elimination final in SFNL A Grade netball.

Loretta Thompson’s Bulldogs defeated Red Cliffs 77-24 at Sarah Oval on Saturday and play Mildura this week, but Ouyen United the week after is already a fait accompli.

While South finished higher on the ladder, the semi-final has been drawn to be played down the highway at Blackburn Park, so the home crowd will certainly be on the side of the Kangas.

“I think it’s about staying fit and healthy and getting ready to fight,” Thompson said about the preparation for that semi-final.

On Saturday, although matched up against a young Tigers outfit, the Bulldogs showed they are going to be a tough out in the finals.

Conditions weren’t pretty, with a bitter wind prevailing across the court making the game a bit of an arm wrestle, but the Bulldogs still managed to transition well.

“We did talk about keeping it nice and short and flat in the weather,” Thompson said.

“And working the goalers into a shorter shot, so that was good.”

Thompson was also pleased that, coming off a bye, the Bulldogs were able to get into gear from the outset.

“It was nice to have a week’s rest, we actually rested all week – I think the girls needed that to get over a few aches and pains,” Thompson said.

“I was happy with the way they started and they played a good four quarters.”

On the scoreboard the Tigers were well beaten, but they did have the occasional flutter.

They will take a lot out of the game, playing a team which, like South Mildura, was built on youth for a number of years with some senior experience guiding them.

Story & photo courtesy of Sunraysia Daily

Round 13

IT was a day when Wentworth could have cemented their credentials as a legitimate top-four contender.

At the end of a tough battle with South Mildura at Sarah Oval, the Roos emerged with a 19-point victory and four valuable points but more questions were raised than answered by the team clinging to fourth place on the SFNL ladder.

After a lightning quick goal to start the game by the Bulldogs’ Indigo Howell, Wentworth worked their way into the lead but never full control of the game and the hosts even managed to reduce the margin to a goal going into the final quarter.

However, three majors shared by potent forwards Wade Hancock and Andrew Wall, who finished with three apiece, made sure bottom-of-the-table South weren’t going to pull off an upset and severely damage ambitious Wentworth’s finals hopes.

Fifth-placed Merbein lurk four points behind the Roos with a game in hand and slightly better percentage and who knows how hot-cold sides Mildura and Ouyen United will perform down the home straight? But Wentworth coach Sam Curran was just happy his side had its fate in its own hands.

“It’s pretty disappointing the way we went about it today, no fluency,” Curran said.

“South probably looked the better side over the four quarters. They moved the ball better, took the game on and had a bit more run. We were just consistently turning the football over.

“But we got those four points and we hold our spot in the four for the moment. The reality for us is we have to win at least two of our last four games to stay in the four. If we don’t win (this week against Mildura), we have to win two out of three.

“We have won three in a row and the side is maturing. The old us might have lost that game today.”

Colin Andrews, Jack Carter, Cambell Davison, Joshua Dean, Kaine Behr and Dion Harris provided plenty of drive throughout the day but they were almost stalemated by South coach John Pratt, off half-back, Nathan Turley, John Jackson, Deklan Loveridge, Howell and forward target Tyler Curtis, who finished with three goals.

For Pratt, there’s no such thing as a “good loss”, but there is “improved performance”.

“Early in the year we were having big fade-outs and now we were competitive in that last quarter today against a pretty good side,” Pratt said. “I thought after half-time we were good.

“They ended up with 17 points, so their inaccuracy kept us in the game, but there were a lot of good signs for us, particularly with our young guys.

“We are playing a pretty exciting style of football and starting to gel. You always want to win but we also want to be competitive each game, we don’t want to be a side that’s a pushover.

“Obviously finals are out of the question for us but we are looking at the bigger picture and this is a two to three-year plan for us.

“The rest of this season is all about looking forward and being competitive.”

Story & photo courtesy of Sunraysia Daily

Photos courtesy of Football Mildura FB

Football Score

Netball Score


The following is the round 13 summary from the weekly footy guide (R14)

Firstly, thank you to Aboriginal Elders Ada Peterson and Uncle Peter for conducting the welcome to country and smoking ceremonies at #3 last Saturday, the first time that this has been done at our ground.

Indigenous round was special in more ways than one as this was our annual Terry Dean Shield round vs Wentworth. Terry Dean became a life member at both clubs in 1967 and 1980 respectively, a stalwart at both clubs in every facet of the game. Every season the 2nd meeting between our sides battle out for the right to hold the shield for the next 12 months, it was half time in the seniors and with all other Netball and Football results in we were in a deadlock of 7 ½ points each for wins vs losses for the days games….…..the ½ point each was due to the U18 game being a draw with the result finishing on 49 apiece. It came down to the last game of the day that was anyone’s guess as to which way it would go. It is history now and it will show the cards fell the way of Wentworth. The shield was presented to Josh Dean in the after game presentations, until next season when we meet again.

Moving forward to this week and we head out to Kenny Park to take on the Merbein Magpies, our last encounter way back in round 5 will show we led all day in the seniors until that final siren…….today the boys are looking to reverse the result and snatch victory from the magpie nest, stay tuned at 2.30pm today.

A-Grade Netball took a hit last week at the hands of Wentworth for the second time this season so our ladies will be out to get one back today at 12pm…….a big in is going to be our #1 goal shooter in Demi Toms after a few weeks away.

This week we also have taken on board with Merbein the very important message and awareness on supporting and looking for the signs that some people around our clubs and the community in general may be suffering as a result of suicide. This is not a nice subject to discuss but it is a very real problem in today’s society and has been prevalent in our community in recent months. Always remember that support is available and if you feel your not on you’re A-Game reach out, if you think someone is in need of some support ask if they would like to talk, a friendly smile and a listening ear is all it takes to know that a situation or a problem may not be as bad as you think. Good Luck to all teams today and lets make it a great day…..


The Barking Bulldog





Round 12

Scrappy Eagles outmatch dogs.

It was not pretty, but a win is a win.

Euston were well below their best but did enough for a comfortable 38 point win over South Mildura at Euston on Saturday.

Eagles coach Andrew Richardson was positive but realistic post-match.

“We’ve come away with four points,” he said.

“We’ve had a win, it wasn’t a good win and we didn’t play near our best footy but to South’s credit they set up really well behind the play and they transitioned well.

“I’m really confident we’ve got a lot to improve on.”

After a great win against Ouyen United the week before, Richardson noticed the Eagles were somewhat sluggish.

“I feel like a few of the boys were probably stuck in last week a little bit, it was a fantastic effort from them, I didn’t think the effort was there (Saturday) anywhere near last week,” he said.

“Our work rate was off and I thought our positioning was a little bit questionable.

“It’s a difficult ground to play on as well, it’s a weird shape and we seem to go into that when we play here – it’s something we’ve got to improve on going forward.”

The focus now turns to a match against Imperials next week, second versus third on the ladder which the Eagles will need to be switched on for.

“I think when you do play teams below you on the ladder, whether you like it or not, it’s hard to get yourself up for it, or the boys up for it,” Richardson said.

“When you are playing someone who is right next to you and trying to take your spot, we are definitely looking forward to that challenge.”

For the Bulldogs and their coach John Pratt it was a familiar story.

“We’re just really competitive most weeks, I think there’s been three where we haven’t been, we were in it today being a competitive bunch we just missed our opportunities going forward and the skill level hurts us week in week out,” Pratt said.

“But it was a pretty competitive effort once again, we just didn’t quite finish our movements off.”

Pratt said it would be a matter of his young team maintaining its development path.

“We had seven to eight under-18 players, so it’s just getting games under their belt to hit targets and finish their kicks off,” he said.

“There’s no secret to it, it’s just time together.”

The following is the round 12 summary from the weekly footy guide (R13)

With round 12 run and done our day out at Euston was a clean cut affair between Football and Netball…….Football results fell the way of the home side however our Netball results was all South, a 50/50 split if you like. There were debutantes across many grades for South Netball, Yazmin Thompson in A-Grade, Sister Holly in B-Grade and Emma Webb in C-Grade. One thing is for sure, our Netball teams are in very good shape with all the talent we have coming through the ranks and with LT (Loretta Thompson) at the helm you can be assured that we will be well represented come September.

Our footballers had the rougher end of the deal with a 4 to 5 goal wind blowing for most of the day straight down the ground from the Highway End……The U16’s kicked of proceeding kicking into it and immediately found the going tough the boys fought a good fight and to their credit out scored their bigger bodied opponent’s in the last…..a great effort boys. The U18’s started on fire taking it right up to their more fancied opposition to lead the first quarter 4 goals to 1……but that’s about where it finished, the delivery made all the difference and Robinvale scooted away with a comfortable win. Chicken’s Ressies have been a bit out of sorts the last week or so and have struggled to take the chocolates……a few outs with players unavailable due to injury and work commitments has put the pressure on and constantly getting U18 lads to double up takes its toll.

Pratty had the youngest team we have put on the paddock in Seniors in many years and 2 senior debutantes in Tyson Giles and Steve Sellens making up our 22 for a game that could have tipped over in our favour early had some easy shots on goal gone our way, subsequently it didn’t but again with this young group of developing players Robinvale didn’t get it all their own way. Tyler Curtis again for the last 3 rounds picked up best on, great work Milko. The work this bloke is putting in has been tremendous.

Today we welcome Wentworth to #3 for Indigenous Round, a highlight on the SFNL and SMFNC calendar to celebrate not only the aboriginal culture and the land that we play our great game on but to build and unify our community through sport. I behalf of the South Mildura Football Netball Club and the Wentworth District Football Netball Club we thank the aboriginal elders here today to perform the Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremonies at 2.20pm.

Story & photo courtesy of Sunraysia Daily

Football score

Netball score

Bulldogs back kennel move


SOUTH Mildura has confirmed the club has had discussions with Mildura Rural City Council (MRCC) about relocating to the new Mildura South Sporting Precinct.

South Mildura president Mark Bresnehan said it was a “once in a generation” opportunity for his club.

“This is our chance to put our club on the map – to build our club into something special,” he said.

The club’s board held an information session at Sarah Oval yesterday with members, supporters and past and present players to outline the benefits of the proposed move.

The decision comes after Mildura’s board knocked back the opportunity to relocate from City Oval after not being able to secure assurances from MRCC around the construction of a second oval, outdoor netball courts and other operational issues.

It was then the Bulldogs made their move to become a tenant of the new $28 million, state-of-the-art sporting facility.

Mr Bresnehan said officials from the Bulldogs had held preliminary discussions with council and were comfortable with what had been put on the table.

“We understand there will be some limitations initially, but we believe the positives far outweigh the negatives,” Mr Bresnehan said.

“This is a great opportunity for our club – we will not see anything like this again in our lifetime.

“It is about us turning the South Mildura Sporting Club into a superpower.

“There are so many positives for us as a club to be a part of this new sporting precinct.

“Everything just makes sense to us. The name, its location, the facility.”

A funding shortage will mean that initially the Bulldogs will need to find a second venue to host junior matches and will also need to gain approval from the SFNL to play netball matches indoors.

Mr Bresnehan said he understood there would be some “teething” problems, but they were prepared to put up with this to secure the rights to the new facility.

“We are fully aware that not everything we need is going to be available initially,” Mr Bresnehan said.

“Council has been very open and transparent about this in all our discussions.

“South Mildura is such a growth area and it just makes sense – South Mildura Sporting Club playing and operating out of South Mildura.

“The marketing power of that is so strong.”

Mr Bresnehan said the next step in the process was to provide MRCC with a formal proposal.

He said he expected a decision on whether South Mildura or Imperials would be the new tenant within four weeks.

If the Bulldogs are successful they could be playing matches at the new venue by 2022.

Story & photo courtesy of Sunraysia Daily


Round 5


The Bulldogs pretty much controlled a close game until Merbein’s  Ash Rowe’s double burst midway through the third. But a good effort is not the same as a win.

“I think this was our worst loss of the year,” South Mildura’s new coach John Pratt said.

“We just keep rolling over in the last quarter. It was a game we should have won

but it’s easy to say that. Credit to them, they played a good final quarter but we just stopped running and that’s something we have to work on at training.”

The Bulldogs’ defence was outstanding until Buckley provided another tall option to be countered up forward and the Magpies cracked open the midfield.

The following is the round 5 summary from the weekly footy guide (R6)

With Interleague behind us and a week off to take stock of the round 5 results we now take the trek down the Calder Highway to face last year’s Premiers in Ouyen United at Underbool.

Our Junior Footballers and Netballers had a successful round 5 with some awesome results across all grades. To see so much talent coming through all grades gets the mind boggling of what our future holds, knowing that these kids are having the best time playing the sport they love in an environment that is committed to their development is worth every volunteer hour that we put in, keep up the great work guys and Good Luck today.

Senior Netball in A – Grade returned to the winners list with a solid win in round 5 and have consolidated 3rd spot on the ladder. After a tough outing the week before Loretta and her team made no mistake that they we walking away with the win to cement their position in the top 4. Our opponents today are always up for the challenge and a tough hit out will no doubt be on the cards at 12pm today, we wish all our senior Netball sides the best of luck in todays matches.

Our U18 and Reserves football teams under the watchful eye’s of Luke Stone and Brayden “Chicken” Collicoat have had modest starts to the season, improving as each week goes by we will see both these sides bobbing up and taking the chocolates in coming weeks.

Again our young senior side showed that we have what it takes to become a winning outfit although closing games out in the last quarter and putting opposition sides away when it counts still eludes this growing group. The continued galvanisation and the want and the will to win of this team has only strengthened this week with the news of our fallen Bulldog Brother, Cohen Andrew………A South Mildura boy through and through taken from us well before time. Cohen played the game with an intense but fair hardness and made his opponent earn every possession as his little brother in Colby will continue to do and as their father Matty did as a Bulldog. Today we remember and pay respect to Cohen and his family by wearing black arm bands across all grades of Football and Netball to remember this young man who gave everything and more every time he pulled on the bulldog guernsey. We look forward to this afternoons contest………and Cohen……….this one is for you buddy.      The Barking Bulldog








Maddison Toms’ work in the middle of the court was vital in South Mildura’s win over Merbein on Saturday.

SOUTH Mildura strengthened their place in the top four with a 21-goal win over Merbein in a replay of last year’s Sunraysia Football Netball League A grade grand final.

It was a strong performance by the reigning premiers, who are entrenched in third position, eight points clear of fourth-placed Imperials.

Bulldogs coach Loretta Thompson said she was pleased to get the win after struggling early.

“We probably didn’t start as strongly as we would have liked but we had three really strong quarters and ran away with it in the end,” Thompson said.

“Both umpires weren’t really letting the defenders contest from both teams.

“But I think once our defenders adjusted to that we started to get some tips and turnovers and then our goalies were able to settle at the other end and score.”

Maddison Toms was again a standout for the winners.

Thompson said Toms’ ability to win the ball through the middle of the court and her speed were key ingredients to her side’s success.

“She puts a lot of pressure on opposition sides and the drive she has through the middle of the court is second to none,” said Thompson.

“I couldn’t ask to coach a better bunch of girls really.

“They have a lot of fun and they have a lot of fun out on court, but when it is needed they really dig deep and come up with the goods most of the time. I think that real team connection that they have is pretty special.

“Everyone who is out on that court plays for the team. It really helps in tough, tight games to have that bond and connection.”

Story courtesy of Sunraysia Daily

Photos courtesy of Football Mildura FB and Sunraysia Daily


Round 1

Tyler Curtis celebrates after kicking a mammoth goal from the centre square!

“Stories and photos courtesy of Sunraysia Daily”


SOUTH MILDURA HAVE PLENTY TO LOOK FORWARD TO: There has been a fair bit of hype about South Mildura over the summer, though there were still a few question marks after a disappointing performance against Mildura in the pre-season competition. But they earned a lot of respect after Saturday’s effort. They ran out of legs, but for three quarters looked the better side and moved the ball well.


CONTROLLING a football match for three quarters doesn’t win you the game, as South Mildura found out in the opening round of the Sunraysia Football Netball League against Imperials at Sarah Oval on Saturday.

In front of a large crowd, the Bulldogs held a 21-point lead at three-quarter time and looked to be in control.

But Imperials stormed home with an eight-goal final term for a 29-point victory.

The turning point for Imps came when veteran Brad Hards was moved back into the middle of the ground and Luke Hickey went into the ruck. The pair took charge, with Hards running rampant. He consistently won the ball out of the middle and set up his forwards, who didn’t let him down, booting eight straight goals while South went goalless, having run out of legs.

It was Imperials’ superior fitness that proved the difference.

The green and white machine have had a big pre-season and their hard work paid off with them running out the game much better than their opponents.


Early, the Dogs looked sharp and moved the ball well, particularly out of defence, with Dom Scullino and recruit Marty Corrie creating plenty of drive and run.


Tyler Curtis was dangerous up forward, booting four goals, but was starved of opportunities in the last quarter.

Adam Luitjes was the dominant big man on the ground in the first half, but like many of his teammates faded.

Imperials recruit Dave Hankin showed he is going to be a valuable asset with a fivegoal haul.

Hankin was one of the few Imps players who was able to contribute for four quarters.

The classy small forward moved well and was a constant target for his teammates in attack.

Luke Sicker was solid in his first hit-out since returning from Queensland and will be better for the run.


Adding to South’s wows is a suspected hamstring injury to coach John Pratt.

Pratt was sidelined for several weeks during the pre-season after straining his hamstring during training, but was confident he had fully recovered going into Saturday’s match.

He will have the injury assessed this week before making a decision on his availability for the Dogs’ round 2 match against Irymple this Friday.  But with a short turnaround he may miss what will be a crucial game for the Dogs against last year’s runners-up.

  Senior football score





NETBALL  –  ‘Premiers supreme’




SOUTH Mildura’s premiership defence got off to a magnificent start with an emphatic 11 goal victory over a valiant Imperials outfit.

The Bulldogs looked flat early, surrendering a five-goal lead to Imps.

South looked to have unearthed an attacking duo in Kendall McLean and Demi Toms, who showed their shooting skills from all points of the circle.

McLean was threatening all day, scoring 28 goals, but Toms wasn’t playing second fiddle, chiming in with an impressive tally of 31 goals.

The pairing turned out to be just a little too classy for the Imps defenders, who fought bravely all day.

At the other end of the court it was Meg McManus who was the standout goal scorer for Imperials with 26 goals.

Midway through the contest a scary moment occurred when Toms collided with Imperials defender Kalo Moimoi and Toms nearly ran into the goalpost, such was the endeavour of the two rivals.

Thankfully no one was hurt and both girls continued to play at nothing short of 100 per cent.

South’s dominant second half stamped their authority on the competition and they showed they are more than capable of winning back-to-back premierships.

Three of the best players overall were McLean who dominated all day causing all sorts of problems for the Imps defenders.

Rhianna Toms, an important linking player through the middle of the court, as well as a dangerous play-maker, was good all day

Meg McManus, even in a losing effort, McManus put in a good performance on a tough day.





South’s Jiah Robinson outleaps his Imperials opponent at Sarah Oval.



IMPERIALS showed they will again be a flag contender in the under 18s with an 11-point win over South Mildura at Sarah Oval on Saturday.

Imps led all day and, despite a late charge by the home side in the final quarter, never really looked troubled, running out winners 8.13 (61) to 7.8 (50).

Ben Rogers was best for the winners with a solid game, while Bailey Beattie and Will Rogers were handy contributors.

For the Bulldogs Thomas Fiorillo chipped in with three goals, while better players for the home side were Nicholas Arnold, Charles Etrich and Colby Scheele.