TONGALA took a step back- wards last season falling from fifth to ninth, but there is plenty of enthusiasm around the club as it tries to climb back up the table.
Former coach Daryl Harrison vacated the role taken over by Travis Edwards, who has brought an extremely professional approach to the club in his return to Victorian country football.
“With 14 sessions pre-Christmas, 10 sessions over Christmas and another 21 sessions in our pre-season phase, we have given the players every opportunity to get themselves in good shape for 2017,” Edwards said.
Edwards put the club’s new-found energy down to its strong committee and passionate supporter base.
“Players love their football and despite the demands of farming and summer heat always arrive enthusiastic to training,” he said.
“We have already seen a stronger connection between the football and netball departments which can only be beneficial moving forward.” Thomas Kneebone and Jack Monigatti both join the Blues from Echuca and Edwards said the duo had added intensity to the squad.
Edwards also said he was excited to see the progression and development of local youngsters Bailey Cox, Riley Cowley and Blake Mulholland, as well as Bailey Waasdorp who has been named in the Bendigo Pioneers TAC Cup squad.
The 2017 season looms as an opportunity for Tongala to bounce back up the ladder, but Edwards was keen to temper expectations, warning of ups and downs as he tries to rebuild the club.
But he said he was keen to see if the enthusiasm and mateship shown through pre-season could translate into on-field form.
“We will be a young and exciting team. The bond between local players that are mates on and off the field is something that can’t be underestimated,” Edwards said.