New-look Lions in search of suc­cess

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Footy Countdown - BY JONATHAN BOX

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.

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