Baggies on scent of more success
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.”
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.”