New-look Lions in search of success
Practice matches and clearances are all the talk at the moment with the opening round in Mininera and District Football League little more than a month away.
Incoming and outgoing clearances have been high on Great Western’s agenda with 13 players on the ‘out’ list and 18 players listed as ‘in’ for the approaching season.
Although many of the outgoing clearances have been denied, several belong to last year’s senior playing list, which if approved will see a massive changeover in players.
Among some of the outgoing players are Anthony Bourke and Ben Newson, who were not only both consistent senior football players, but also consistently featured in the best, particularly Bourke who was also one of the teams highest goal-scorers.
Players like Bourke will be hard to replace, however, the club will no doubt remain upbeat with the list of players swarming into the Lions’ den.
Most players are coming from Wimmera and Horsham District league competitions. William Bell, transferring from the Wimmera league, is the Lions’ senior coach this year and brings plenty of coaching experience in all aspects of football to the club.
With the turnover of players, Great Western will hope that a change at the helm and an influx of quality players will help in improvement, and to get some consistency in their senior playing list.
Last year the Lions played a total of 49 players.
It wasn’t a great year for the Lions in 2016, scoring only two wins and finishing 11th on the ladder, with 11 of their 16 losses being by more than 100 points.
On only two other occasions were they able to come within four goals.
Benjamin Birch-burton won the club’s 2016 best and fairest award, while runner-up was Lachlan Malloy who returned to the Northern Territory after playing only six games, but in those six games he was named best on ground four times.
Regardless of the list of outgoing players, the club will welcome new players to a team with plenty of talent and experience to help leaders bring it all together to generate success.
These players include Birch-burton, who only played 10 games last year but still featured in the best seven times with three best on grounds and 11 goals.
Luke Notting is another, who from his 18 games contributed seven goals while being in the best 15 times with six best on grounds, four of which came in the last six rounds.
There is also Rayne Salmon, who from 12 games featured in the best nine times, and Sam Cocks, who was the highest goal-scorer for the club on 35, averaging just under two a game and on three occasions kicked five or more with two of these hauls resulting in team victories.
All in all, there are plenty of positives for the club as it moves into the 2017 season hoping for improvement on last year.
IN CHARGE: From left, Great Western football manager Marcus Marrow, reserves coach Aiden Lee, Under 12 coach Luke Notting, senior coach William Bell, assistant under-16.5 coach Josh Mccartney, president James Gooden. Absent, under-16.5 coach Sam Cocks.