BLAKE Jorgenson, Darren Hindle, Glenn Patterson and Dan Atkinson will again don the blue-and-white of Picola United in 2017.
Head coach Jon Varcoe said it was part of Picola United Football Club’s philosophy to ensure “good club people” returned to its ranks.
“It’s been important for us this season to get people who had links to the club back playing,” he said.
“We have had a few practice matches so far for the seniors and reserves which have been promising.
“We’re expecting to be competitive this season, but you don’t really know how other teams will line-up and we’re a different side ourselves this year.”
The club had also welcomed fresh recruits in Rhys Woodland (Lockington), Travis Morgan (Rumbalara), Nathan Walsh (Koondrook/Barham) and Darcy O’Neill (Echuca).
There is an atmosphere of excitement surrounding this season. The team is still basking in the glory of breaking a 49-year premiership drought in 2016, with ranks in both the foot- ball and netball sides strengthening in the off-season.
That excitement is most notable in the junior teams with four teams fronting up for 2017, the under 17s again coached by Taylor Beard while Dylan Cunningham is at the head of the under 14s.
Varcoe will be joined by assistant coaches Mark Ryan and Ash Weldon with fitness coach Mark Ryans working hard with players ahead of the season to build conditioning.
“We changed pre-season up a bit this year with a boot camp for the first six weeks,” Varcoe said.
“We have a lot of players who travel which made things easier on them and on our families as well as volunteers not being required as early in the season.”
The club has already played two practice matches against Katunga and Strathmerton ahead of its round one clash to Strathmerton on April 1.
The lingering summer heat which stretched into autumn may have taken its toll on the players in those practice games, however a proper hit-out was exactly what teams needed in preparation for the season, according to Varcoe.
“It was a good opportunity for a lot of our reserves to get their fi rst taste of senior footy,” he said.
“Myself and the club are extremely motivated to be successful in the new season, which will no doubt bring new challenges, and we’re focused on improving on and off the field."