Pekin: Less is more

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

It is far from a se­cret that Hor­sham Dis­trict league club Har­row-bal­moral will start this year with­out 11 play­ers from its grand-fi­nal team from last year.

It is a sub­ject that has gen­er­ated plenty of dis­cus­sion around re­gional foot­ball traps and had many spec­u­lat­ing that the South­ern Roos might fall back in the field.

But Roos coach Nick Pekin won’t have a bar of it and has gone as far as say­ing the club’s sights re­main firmly set on a premier­ship.

“It’s ob­vi­ously been pub­li­cised quite heav­ily that we’ve lost quite a few se­nior play­ers. But the feel­ing among our group is very pos­i­tive and af­ter be­ing run­ners-up for the past cou­ple of years we’re striv­ing to go one bet­ter,” he said.

Pekin said the de­par­ture of play­ers, many of them Hamil­ton dis­trict trav­ellers with young fam­i­lies, had opened the door for the club to fur­ther ex­ploit its solid depth of young Roos.

“It’s ac­tu­ally pretty ex­cit­ing. The plan is to bring on tal­ented kids who are the fu­ture of the club and have been wait­ing for their op­por­tu­nity,” he said.

Adding fur­ther to the con­fi­dent out­look, when asked whether the depar­tures were wor­ry­ing him and his coach­ing staff, Pekin re­sponded with a pro­found ‘ab­so­lutely not!’

“Some­times less is more, if you know

what I mean. We still have the depth but the truth is this gives us a great op­por­tu­nity. We’ve had 25 to 40 blokes on the track since late Jan­uary and it has all been re­ally pos­i­tive,” he said.

“We have play­ers with 20 or so games with the re­serves un­der their belt itch­ing to step up and lead the next core group of play­ers.”

Pekin rat­tled off names such as teenagers Alas­tair and Hamish Mccrae, Harry Rees and An­gus Atchi­son who were com­ing through the ranks and oth­ers in­clud­ing Lachie Steven­son, An­gus Hal­l­i­day and Darcy Trot­man among se­nior can­di­dates this year.

Pekin added Har­row-bal­moral re­cruit­ing had also been pro­duc­tive with lofty ruck­man Todd Lawrence, orig­i­nally from Ballarat, join­ing an al­ready rel­a­tively tall group of play­ers.

“We also have stocky mid­fielder Bowes Kelly from Lake Bo­lac, and play­ers com­ing in adding to our depth, such as Hamish Thomas from Col­eraine,” he said.

Har­row-bal­moral has a long his­tory of pro­duc­ing tall tim­ber and Pekin was quick to point out the po­ten­tial ad­van­tage that might rep­re­sent for the ap­proach­ing sea­son. “No I’m not jok­ing – we’re go­ing to be quite tall. I’ve never known a club to have so much height,” he said.

“I know there seems to be a lack of tall blokes go­ing around but we tend to breed them. It cer­tainly adds to our ver­sa­til­ity.”

Pekin has play­ing as­sis­tant coaches in Simon Close, ‘train­ing the house down’ and in charge of the South­ern Roos’ for­ward set-up, and Hamish El­lis, look­ing af­ter de­fence. Brent Penny is pro­vid­ing sup­port from the bench with Grant Lit­tle.

Pekin said he was averse to in­tro­duc­ing over-com­pli­cated foot­ball strate­gies and direc­tions and would sim­ply ask the Roos to fol­low a ‘keep it sim­ple stupid’ formula.

“It reality much of what is needed in coun­try footy is based on win­ning your own footy – or, if you like, ‘see ball, get ball’ and mak­ing sure you en­joy your­self. We can build around that ba­sic type of plan­ning,” he said.

Har­row-bal­moral fin­ished second on the lad­der be­hind South­ern Mallee Giants, which have left the com­pe­ti­tion to join Wim­mera league, with 14 wins and two losses.

It pro­gressed through the fi­nals strongly with only the Giants stand­ing in its way and ac­tu­ally had more scor­ing shots than its op­po­nents in the grand fi­nal.

The club has had prac­tice matches against Mary­vale and Border­town and will take on Pimpinio at Bal­moral in a sea­son opener on April 7.

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