COACH: MICHAEL TOUT MFL PREMIERSHIPS: 1990
2016 FINISH: SEVENTH (8–10)
2016 BEST-AND-FAIREST: JAKE WILD
2016 LEADING GOAL-KICKER: CHASE STRAWHORN (42)
GROUND: LONSDALE RESERVE
New Mulwala coach Michael Tout will turn to an experienced veteran in the hopes he will help lead an otherwise youthful side to the promised land this year.
Eastern Football League superstar Ash Froud will pair with Tout again — the duo won a division four premiership together at Warrandyte in 2015, with Froud booting 87 goals — to try to bring success to a Mulwala side starved of it.
Froud’s record is phenomenal, with more than 14 years, 700 goals and eight senior premierships in the Eastern league system to go with his East Fremantle WAFL experience. Tout, who also has coaching experience at Greensborough and Donvale, brings with him more top end talent from the Bombers in ruckman Hamish Hosking and midfielder Ross Ansaldi.
“I’ve coached all of these boys before and targeted them for what Mulwala needs,” Tout said.
The Lions have been decimated in the off-season, losing double-figure senior players from last year, among them leading goal-kicker Chase Strawhorn and best-and-fairest winner Jake Wild.
“Obviously we’ve lost a few players to clubs in the area,” Tout said.
“But there will be a lot of young kids coming in and we want to play a lot differently to last year.
“We’ll be playing a very attacking style of footy, we want our youth to take the game on and show their natural flair.”
Mulwala will also focus on bringing local, passionate people into the fold at the Lions in order to grow a better culture.
“We’re focusing on getting it right off the field, then the on-field performance will follow,” Tout said.
“Everyone wants to make finals, but we’ll just have to wait and see how we go.”
From an outside perspective it seems that the Lions have more than accounted for heavy losses during the pre-season, with Froud capable of booting more than 100 goals if the younger brigade can get him the ball with any semblance of clean delivery.
IN: Ash Froud, Ross Ansaldi, Hamish Hosking (Warrandyte), Beau Clarke (Torquay), Harrison Crossley, Jayke Nicholson, Cameron Tregenza, Matthew Tregenza (Yarrawonga)
OUT: Jake Beams, Nicholas O’Bryan, Gareth Oughton, Chase Strawhorn, Liam Russell (Rennie), Zeke Flanagan (Tocumwal), Jake Wild, (Yarrawonga), Josh Slattery (Montmorency), Matt Clark, Chris Powell, Leigh Howroyd (Tungamah)
GAME CHANGER: Ash Froud
Described by Eastern Football League media on Twitter as “one of the best forwards (the EFL) has ever seen”, Froud could single-handedly drag the young Lions into a finals series. More than 700 goals during 14 years in the system as well as eight senior premierships reads well for the Mulwala faithful. Froud will tear many Murray league defences to shreds this year.