HEATHCOTE Football Club coach Luke Bell is confident his side is on the right track as the club aims to play finals for the first time since 2013.
“The feeling around the club has been really good, some really good numbers at training compared to last year,” Bell said.
Last season the Saints finished seventh — six wins from the top four. However, Bell believes some handy recruits over the off-season could lead Heathcote back up the ladder.
“We have landed Damien King and Daniel Russell,’’ he said.
‘‘They will both play a bit of ruck and a bit of forward and give us those big options to kick to.
“Daniel has played the last few years at the Northern Territory Thunder in the NEAFL, and has improved his game up there so that’s a big get for us.”
As well as King and Russell, the Saints will regain midfielders David Anderson, Blake Coyle and Marc Millard – who all suffered respective knee injuries last season.
Anderson spent 2016 with Rochester in the Goulburn Valley League, where he suffered his knee injury in the grand final against Kyabram.
Coyle is linking back up with the Saints after time with Golden Square in Bendigo and Millard will be looking to find the type of form that saw him win the Saint’s 2016 best and fairest before his knee injury ruled him out of 2017.
The Saints held their pre-season training camp over the weekend at Barrack Reserve and had particular focus on one element of their game.
“Our fitness wasn’t up to scratch last year, we couldn’t really run out games and play full games of footy or go with the top teams so that is something we have tried to get back on track this year,” Bell said.
“The camp was really good. It was pretty tough and demanding but all our boys would’ve got something out of it.
“We were up at 3am doing some heavy lifting some sit ups and push-ups and some other bonding exercises as well.
“We also did some mental training about overcoming adversity on the footy field and in life generally too.”
Heathcote will play three practice matches, and have a bye in round 1 before its first match against Colbinabbin at Pigeon Park on April 14.