COACH: GUY CAMPBELL
2016 Finish: Eleventh (3-15)
2016 BEST-AND-FAIREST: DUANE HUESTON
2016 LEADING GOAL-KICKER: ROWAN PRIEST (30).
Retainment and recruitment was the number one priority for Echuca United’s head coach Guy Campbell. It will be the 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 2 pm timeslot.”
Campbell said the competitiveness within the club would go a long way in seeing results on the field. The Eagles hit almost rock bottom last year, but it may have been just the push they needed to make a return to the glory days of 2013.
“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.”
The coach knew exactly what he expected of his players when they showed up each week.
“I want all my players to have the same high work rate and high intensity and continually push themselves each week,” he said.
“We’re one squad under the one banner; there’s no reserves side.
“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.”
Campbell brought a trio of star signings to the club ahead of this year to bolster its ranks, including midfielder Lance Oswald, Tasmanian gun Zach Mihocek and 2013 premiership player Farran Priest.
And while he admitted it was not likely he would play himself, it was a case of never say never for the former AFL rookie.
IN: Connor Ballingall (Upper Ferntree Gully), Kyle Coates (Echuca), James Coppock (Picola United), Blair Corbett (YCW), James Curnow (Kyabram), Stuart Day (Stanhope), Nic Denahy (Echuca), Daniel Kavanagh (Mathoura), Jacob Keenan (Moama), Mitch Lourey (Nirranda), Zac Lucic (Melbourne University Blacks), Sam McCallan (no previous club), Tom McMinn (University Blacks), Zachary Mihocek (Tasmanian Penguins), Zayden Molluso (Girgarre), Rhys Morgan (year off), Shane O’Donnell (year off), Lance Oswald (Kangaroo Flat), Thomas Pitt (Leitchville-Gunbower), Farran Priest (Benalla), Marcus Roberts (year off), Brad Robinson (Stanhope), Reyd Thorpe (Moama), Ash Vesty (Mathoura), Corey Wanganeen (Elmore), Brayden Worsnop (Echuca), Trevor Borg (Marong), Jamie Ferguson (Glenthompson), Harley Haimes (Rochester), Tyler Lethlean (returning).
OUT: Mitch Giddings (North Ballarat), Liam Main (Lockington), Kahl Oliver (Lockington), Simon Stewart (Lockington), Matthew Duggan (Airport West), Dion Williams (Airport West), Ben Marris (Wakool), Peace Young (Lockington).
GAME CHANGER: FARRAN PRIEST Farran Priest has returned to Echuca United since his departure to Goulburn Valley Football League club Benalla in 2015. The 2013 premiership Eagle will make the weekly commute from Melbourne to play alongside his brother Rowan. The VFL and interleague player will add plenty of on-field experience and be instrumental in bringing about some wins for the Eagles.