Fresh faces lead Bur­ras

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Footy Countdown - BY COLIN MACGILLIVR­AY

Af­ter twice stand­ing on the cusp of a first pre­mier­ship since the late 1990s, Minyip-mur­toa’s foot­ball side took a step back last sea­son.

The Bur­ras were an ag­o­nis­ing two points short of hoist­ing the pre­mier­ship cup against Hor­sham Saints in the 2016 grand fi­nal, and a year later fell to Hor­sham on the same stage.

Some ob­servers thought the pain of con­sec­u­tive grand fi­nal de­feats would gal­vanise the Bur­ras in 2018 and spur them on to cross the fi­nal hur­dle, but in­stead they crashed to a 7-9 record and missed fi­nals al­to­gether.

The dis­ap­point­ing re­sult is some­thing new coach John De­lahunty at­tributes to a lack of co­he­sion from last sea­son’s se­nior play­ers.

“I think the buy-in of the play­ers wasn’t quite there, and the stan­dard of the com­pe­ti­tion lifted again,” he said.

“We played some great games but didn’t get over the line, and that was the first time we’d missed fi­nals in seven or eight years.

“It was a real shame, but I’m start­ing to feel op­ti­mistic with the way we’ve been train­ing dur­ing the past few weeks.

“Peo­ple are buy­ing in and en­joy­ing them­selves, and that’s all I can ask for from them.

“If we’ve got the tal­ent and the right game plan, then that will take us as far as we can go.” Just how far can the Bur­ras go?

De­lahunty said his side was ca­pa­ble of play­ing for a pre­mier­ship again in 2019.

“I do think we can con­tend for a flag,” he said.

“Last year was a bit of a lull. This year we’ve got fresh faces, a fresh coach and a few play­ers have moved on, so we’re start­ing afresh and ev­ery­one is re­ally ap­pre­ci­at­ing that.”

Among the fresh faces is for­mer lo­cal Tim Macken­zie, who re­turns as De­lahunty’s as­sis­tant coach af­ter win­ning Glenelg’s best and fairest in the SANFL re­serves last sea­son.

In an­other re­cruit­ing coup the Bur­ras have signed star broth­ers Tim and Ben Mcin­tyre. Both have won the Kowreenara­coorte-ta­tiara Foot­ball League’s Virgo Medal as league best and fairest – Ben as a mem­ber of Penola in 2014 and Tim with Mun­dulla last year.

Other re­cruits in­clude Jack Boschen from Lucin­dale in KNTFL and Vin­cent White from Lear­month in Cen­tral High­lands league.

While the Bur­ras have re­cruited strongly, they have also lost plenty of fire­power.

Last sea­son’s coach Damian Cameron has de­parted for Don­ald in North Cen­tral league, tak­ing star mid­fielder Pat Pur­cell and ruck­man Matt Cole­man along with him.

Minyip-mur­toa will also lose the ser- vices of Cal­lum Hobbs, Kieran De­lahunty and War­wick Stone.

Pur­cell, Cameron and De­lahunty fin­ished first, sec­ond and third re­spec­tively in last sea­son’s best and fairest count.

John De­lahunty said while the loss of sev­eral key play­ers had left large holes in the side, the Bur­ras were in a good po­si­tion to cover them.

“Matt was our ruck­man last year, but we’ve got Fer­gus Schier who has been ruck­ing for us in the re­serves and is a great tap ruck­man who is a stu­dent of the game,” he said.

“He takes every­thing in and is will­ing to learn.”

De­lahunty said it was emerg­ing play­ers like Schier, as well as the Bur­ras’ re­cruits, that would help the team chal­lenge for a fi­nals berth again this sea­son.

“We’ve picked up a few and there’s prob­a­bly three or four oth­ers who will hope­fully put pen to pa­per soon,” he said.

“We’ve got quite a few play­ers look­ing ex­tremely good on the track.

“Fer­gus is one, Nick Kel­son has hardly missed a train­ing ses­sion, Corey Mor­gan and Lo­gan Pe­ter­ing have been go­ing re­ally well and I think will play a lot of se­nior foot­ball this year.

“The mes­sage that I’m try­ing to send this year is that it’s all about team foot­ball and play­ing for the team and en­joy­ing each other’s com­pany. It will be in­ter­est­ing to see how it all comes to­gether.”

De­par­ture: Kieran De­lahunty

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