The opportunity for long-time friends to "go out with a bang" has helped Merrivale playing-coach Elisha Sobey gain recruits for this Warrnambool and District league season.
Sobey, who enjoyed a stellar career with North Warrnambool Eagles in the Hampden league, now has former Eagles' teammates Jess McKenzie and Jess Haberfield at Tigerland.
Marie-Clare Smedts, another former Eagle, is non-playing assistant coach this year.
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Since her Hampden days, Haberfield has won multiple premierships with Dennington and played goal attack for the Dogs in 2019.
Sobey said Haberfield had also brought Kelsey Perry over from Dennington.
The Standard, earlier this month,noted midcourter McKenzie had joined the Tigers.
Meanwhile, Brooke Thompson, who has won a flag with Merrivale, has returned.
Former coach Carly Peake, the 2019 WDFNL premiership mentor, is expecting a baby and will miss the start of the season.
Sobey said Peake's sister Cloe Pulling was back after having a baby last year.
The Tigers impressed their coach when they returned to training in late January.
"Everyone is really keen and everyone is really fit and pumped," Sobey said.
"I'm quite surprised how fit everyone is.
"They've all put in the hard hards over the off-season."
The first-year coach said the group was doing one fitness and one ball-work session per week.
"With the fitness side of things, we've been mixing it up," she said.
"Kept it exciting."
Training has involved boxing, swimming, high-altitude sessions and tennis.
Sobey said she introduced the netballs early this pre-season.
"Obviously having 12 months off makes it a bit hard to get that hand-eye coordination going again," she said.
The Tigers mentor said there were practice matches in the pipeline but nothing confirmed.
She's keen to have a night match under the club's new lights.
Merrivale has its final round of try-outs this week.
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