Less pressure on reserves despite losing players
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.”
HBL's Dylan Heasman edges ahead of Busselton's Jed Kemp in their clash last year.