Merrigum has a new senior coach after Mick Power’s shock decision to relinquish the position last week.
The Bulldogs have appointed club stalwart Steve Lawlor to replace Power, who coached the Kyabram District Football League side last year.
Lawlor coached Merrigum to last year’s reserve premiership and is a veteran of the club as a player and committee member.
Merrigum president Greg Pell said it was not an ideal situation for the club to replace a senior coach with the new season looming, but his club was rallying to make the transition to a new leader as smoothly as possible.
‘‘Mick felt he wasn’t getting total support from some players and thought it was in the best interest of himself, his family and the club to step down,’’ Pell said.
‘‘There is still a very good atmosphere at our club and we will now be supporting Steve to the hilt, but we are still hoping Mick will play some role with the club in the future.’’
Merrigum has also appointed two assistants — Nathan Reid and Darryn Rowney — to support Lawlor.
Reid was a member of Merrigum’s 2015 drought breaking premiership and will play, while Rowney is still coach of the club’s thirds.
Luke Burns, the reserves 2016 best-and-fairest winner, has stepped up to coach the second side, while Ciaran Hubble will be Rowney’s deputy with the thirds.
Apart from Burns and Reid, other Merrigum recruits include Nathalia’s Todd Hicks and Mooroopna’s Sean Reidy, who have played at senior level in major country leagues.
They are expected to give Merrigum’s midfield a massive boost.
Pell said his club was also excited about several promising players, including Tom Cooper, Hubble, Brett Maher and Dylan Rowney, coming through from the thirds, who will play at senior level this season.
Merrigum’s netballers have also had some major signings.
Shepparton United defender Louise Richards, who has played in a premiership with Nagambie and also had experience in the Sunraysia league with Irymple, will coach the A-grade side.
B-grade has a new coach in Leesa Hogan, Meg Thompson and Kathie Dawson are in charge of the C-graders, while Blynda Tranter and Laura Gordan are joint under-17 and under-15 coaches.