Less pres­sure on re­serves de­spite los­ing play­ers

Harvey-Waroona Reporter - - LIONS SEASON PREVIEW -

HAR­VEY-Brunswick-Leschenault re­serves coach John Strano is feel­ing pos­i­tive about the up­com­ing sea­son de­spite hav­ing only five play­ers from last year’s grand fi­nal team.

The Lions lost nine play­ers at the end of 2017, but five for­mer play­ers re­turned to the side af­ter tak­ing some time off.

“About half a dozen guys took a cou­ple of years off and then came back to the sport, which is good for us be­cause they have a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence,” he said.

“We have a re­ally good group of guys out there.”

Af­ter the painful loss to South Bun­bury in last year’s grand fi­nal, Strano said there was no­tice­ably less pres­sure on this year’s team, which car­ried over into the team’s at­ti­tude on the field.

“Last year there was a lot of pres­sure on us to main­tain the premier­ship af­ter we won it in 2016,” he said.

“This year I’ve told the boys to en­joy play­ing foot­ball and just have fun.”

The team’s fo­cus dur­ing train­ing has been mov­ing the ball along quickly.

Strano said play­ers to look out for were Jake Cur­rell and Luke Bet­tens, who played in the HBL colts side in the grand fi­nal last year.

Team cap­tain Shan­non Sabourne was an­other one to watch, as were Tom Dal­ton and Tom Kelly.

“Our aim as a club is to build a strong foun­da­tion for these kids for the next few years,” Strano said.

“We have lost a lot of play­ers, but this is ac­tu­ally a pos­i­tive for us be­cause we have some great new blood that will be in the club for the next few years.

“I reckon we’ve still got the per­son­nel to fin­ish in the top five.”

Apart from South Bun­bury, the Lions will be watch­ing out for the Har­vey Bulls, Carey Park, Bus­sel­ton and Col­lie, who all have ex­pe­ri­enced sides.

“It will be a chal­leng­ing year but an ex­cit­ing year,” Strano said.

“I’m re­ally look­ing for­ward to it.”

Pic­ture: De­clan Bush

HBL's Dy­lan Heas­man edges ahead of Bus­sel­ton's Jed Kemp in their clash last year.

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