JOINED LEAGUE: 2006
COACH: TRAVIS EDWARDS
PRESIDENT: DARREN MALONEY
2016 FINISH: NINTH (5–13)
2016 BEST-AND-FAIREST: JIM CULLUM
2016 LEADING GOAL-KICKER: LUKE MCGILL (33)
New Tongala coach Travis Edwards brings a strong resume to his new side, and it has brought plenty of enthusiasm back to the club.
Edwards, who has spent many years working with the NT Thunder in a coaching capacity, said he had learnt plenty as a coach during his tenure.
“Being involved with Northern Territory football has taught me that obstacles can always be overcome, and to encourage flair and exciting football as we want our players to have fun,” Edwards said.
There is plenty of optimism around Tongala this year, despite a disappointing 5–13 season last year.
“Our players love their football and despite the demands of farming and the summer heat they 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.”
Edwards said quick fix high-cost recruiting was not his mission at Tongala, rather concentrating on improving the club from the ground up.
“I’ve been concentrating on getting the best out of the local players we have, exposing them to different training ideas and new game styles,” he said.
He strongly criticised the notion of big money recruiting in country football.
“Returning to Vic country football after many years away, I’ve been really shocked and honestly quite disappointed at the way local football has turned into such an expensive, high-expenditure business,” he said.
“I strongly support the AFL taking a stronger stance on salary cap and points systems. We are building a strong culture at Tongala for the long-term, so players wanting to come just for a quick buck have been turned away.”
Edwards pointed to young local talents Bailey Cox, Riley Cowley, Blake Mulholland and Bailey Waasdorp, along with recruits Jack Monigatti and Tom Kneebone, as reasons why the club’s future was exciting.
While their immediate goal is continuous improvement rather than a premiership, Edwards said Tongala might surprise some teams this season.
“We haven’t gone for a quick short-term fix, we are building something sustainable,” he said. “With that will come ups and downs, but that’s part of football and part of learning.”
IN: Samuel Colvin(Leitchville-Gunbower), Kade Dixon (Echuca), Travis Edwards (NTFL), Daniel Gentle (Kyabram), William Jarrett (Lancaster), Zane Johnstone (Girgarre), Beau Joyce (Lancaster), Thomas Kneebone (Echuca), Jayden Mitchell (Lancaster), Jack Monigatti (Echuca), Matthew Rix (Warrack), Jesse Robilliard (University Blacks), Nathan Torney (Kyabram)
OUT: Nathan Barker (Girgarre), Adam Lovison (Kyabram), Luke McGill (Tatura), Nicholas Mellington (Girgarre), Nathan Mills (Shep Swans), Harry Ripon (Echuca), Jayden Tucker (Girgarre), Shannon Tucker (Girgarre), Liam Van Roy (Girgarre), Oliver Wilson (Echuca)
GAME CHANGER: Jordan Souter An established face at Tongala, the tireless midfielder is one of the Blues’ major ball-winners. The club captain, Souter will look to lead a rejuvenated side after Travis Edwards’ introduction as coach. Edwards said Souter would be welcomed by any side in Australia.