ECHUCA United Football Club has players as its number one priority in 2017.
Countless phone calls and one-on-one time was spent attracting footballers to the club, including a fly-in fly-out trip to Tasmania.
Not only does head coach Guy Campbell want to retain the previous season’s list, he wants to build on it with a strong recruitment of local names.
It will be the former premiership player’s first year in the role and already he has brought a host of players back to the club where they started out.
‘‘Our first priority was about keeping the players we had at the club; then bringing back some local names from outlying clubs,’’ Campbell said.
‘‘We’ve got the high end of 60 players all vying for senior selection and many will have to go above and beyond to play in that 2pm timeslot.’’ Campbell said the competitiveness within the club would go a long way in seeing results on the field and while the previous season was a sore spot for United (the senior team finished 11th on the ladder), the club should not be underestimated in 2017.
‘‘The penny has finally dropped for a lot of these guys that anything worth achieving takes time and effort,’’ Campbell said.
‘‘It’s one thing to want something; it’s entirely different to go out there and get it.
‘‘I want all my players to have the same high work rate and high intensity and continually push themselves each week,’’ he said.
‘‘And this year has been one where everyone has wanted to get involved in some way or another.’’ Campbell has brought a trio of star signings to the club ahead of 2017 to bolster its ranks, including mid fielder Lance Oswald, Tasmanian gun Zach Mihocek and past premiership player Farran Priest. He said there wasn’t a set leadership team as yet, expecting each player to step up at some point or another throughout the season. The coach has the task of managing the 80-plus squad, with no player cut from the list, however he will work closely with coaching staff Damian Dalziel and Peter Quanchi (under 17s) to ensure the best 22 are running on to the field each week.
‘‘We’re one squad under the one banner; there’s no reserves side,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s going to be a bit of a juggling act and all we can do is create the opportunity for individuals to get the best out of themselves.’’ The club introduced CrossFit into its pre-season training to ensure players are in peak physical condition when the season begins.
Joe Tucker from CrossFit Rapt has been at training to coach players on building certain muscle groups to help in recovering quickly on the field and preventing injuries, which was a major problem for United in 2016.
The three keys
Farran Priest returned from the Goulburn Valley league in 2017 and adds plenty of on-field experience.
The VFL and inter- league player will be instrumental.
The Priest brothers will be a powerful combination for Echuca United and Rowan’s ability to run the ball is sure to come in handy for the Eagles. His commitment and determination will be vital.
Echuca United’s head coach Guy Campbell has been a major influence off-field and is the Eagles biggest game changer in 2017.
Not only has he brought in a host of players his ability to motivate players is undeniable.