Mansfield will take home the Goulburn Valley League wooden spoon this season, but things are looking up in the high country.
Emily Hutchins is nearing the end of her first year in charge at the Eagles and is buoyed about what signs have been shown.
The former Bonnie Doon star is keen to continue her time at the club, hopeful of turning into a playing coach when the new year rolls around.
Having ruptured her anterior cruciate ligament while training with Victorian Netball League side Southern Saints, Hutchins has set small goals in her return to the court.
‘‘I’m just up to six months post-op and I’ve just started running again, which is an amazing feeling,’’ she said.
‘‘I’m hoping to maybe do the warm-up in the last game... I’ll just slowly work my way into it and focus on it next year.’’
Hutchins has been thrilled with the small things the Eagles have achieved this year, hoping they can continue to build on their consistency against Euroa tomorrow.
Mansfield was given hope by fellow bottom-four side Rochester, which defeated the Magpies by 11 goals before the break.
‘‘We’ve got almost a full side back this week, which is exciting, we’re more just focusing on our game and what we’ve been trying to do,’’ Hutchins said. ‘‘A big thing for us last time was that we didn’t start well enough, but we’ve been trying to do that the last few weeks, so we’ll go out and try and keep up with them for the first two quarters and then start working on our consistency.’’
Mansfield has again won just the sole game this season, the same result as last year when Lisa Hueston was in charge of the A-grade side.
But with Hueston splitting her time between leagues, she has transitioned back to Tallygaroopna after nine games with the Eagles this year.
‘‘We had a really sad send-off for her last game... she’ll be sorely missed, but it gives our younger girls a chance,’’ Hutchins said.
Nelle Cousins is a teenager Hutchins has brought into the senior side.
The under-17 interleague representative is the sister of Hawthorn AFL rookie James and looks set to be a permanent A-grade fixture in the future.
‘‘She’s doing really well, we elevated her into A-grade after some injuries and she’s been killing it in B-grade all year,’’ Hutchins said.