Bag­gies on scent of more suc­cess

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Footy Countdown - BY DEAN LAW­SON

For foot­ball clubs and teams there is noth­ing quite as sweet as the taste of pre­mier­ship suc­cess.

Win a flag and sud­denly ev­ery­thing around a club changes.

For many, the feel­ing it gen­er­ates is sim­i­lar to a highly ad­dic­tive but hardto-ac­cess drug – it cre­ates a yearn­ing that never seems to leave.

There is no doubt, that for Swifts in Hor­sham District league, that yearn­ing is mag­ni­fy­ing with ev­ery year that passes.

It is now four years since the Stawell Bag­gies won an his­toric 2014 flag and fans are look­ing to the start of ev­ery sea­son with ex­pec­ta­tion.

Of course foot­ball and sport­ing premiershi­ps in gen­eral re­main among some of the most elu­sive of prizes – some play­ers go through ca­reers without ever ex­pe­ri­enc­ing them.

It of­ten takes a con­sid­er­able build-up for teams to even qual­ify.

The prepa­ra­tion and need for con­sis­tency in per­for­mance is far from lost on Swifts coach Scott Carey as he pre­pares for the 2018 sea­son.

“For us, get­ting to the fi­nals is the first box that needs tick­ing,” he said.

“But we’re also fully aware that with a fi­nal six, you have to be right up near the top of the lad­der to progress deep-

ly into the fi­nals. We’re go­ing to push to get as high as we pos­si­bly can.”

In what looms as a highly com­pet­i­tive year, Swifts might have the ar­se­nal to be among se­ri­ous chal­lengers this sea­son.

Carey said the Bag­gies would un­dergo re­struc­tur­ing with the in­flux of play­ing per­son­nel and a change in style.

“Ev­ery­thing seems to be on track for the start of the sea­son,” he said.

“Train­ing num­bers have been great and there’s a good vibe in the pre-sea­son. I’m re­ally happy with it.

“We will def­i­nitely have a dif­fer­ent struc­ture and hope­fully we’ll have it down pat by round one.”

Key-po­si­tion strength

The re­turn of key-po­si­tion for­wards in for­mer pre­mier­ship coach Ben Martin from Navarre and Da­mon Folkes from a se­ri­ous knee in­jury, to play along­side An­drew Cameron, ap­pears at the core of the strat­egy switch.

Hav­ing key-po­si­tion tar­gets will help ‘straighten up’ a team that re­lied heav­ily on run­ners to get the ball for­ward last year. “It will be about get­ting the ball for­ward as quickly as pos­si­ble, where those guys are ei­ther go­ing to mark the ball or get it to ground,” Carey said.

“That’s the aim, so we’ll see how we go.”

Along with Martin and Folkes on the Swifts’ ‘in’ list are Daniel Parkin, an­other 2014 pre­mier­ship player in Jakob Davis, and last year’s league un­der-17 best and fairest Josh Davis.

Swifts took on Ararat Ea­gles in a prac­tice match last week and will have an­other pre-sea­son test against Avoca on March 24.

Swifts pres­i­dent Steve Hoff­mann said the Bag­gies were in a strong po­si­tion, in­clud­ing across foot­ball and net­ball player ranks.

He said fi­nan­cial sup­port was also strong, with CKS En­gi­neer­ing sup­port­ing the club for more than a decade again head­lin­ing a spon­sor list.

Mr Hoff­mann also agreed that Swifts were hun­gry for more pre­mier­ship suc­cess.

“We want to get back to be­ing in a po­si­tion to chal­lenge for that again,” he said.

“We also have a good op­por­tu­nity with the draw for peo­ple to sup­port us this year. So come along and sup­port a lo­cal team.”

Scott Carey

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