Centrals big test

Evan Donoghue (left) will play a big role for Melton Centrals. (Jacob Pattison)323330_06

Tara Murray

Melton Centrals are hoping to build on last season but will need a bit of luck along the way in the Riddell District Football League.

Centrals had their best season in a number of years, including knocking off Riddell and Romsey, but still finished outside the top five in seventh spot.

Centrals were able to add some off season signings which they were hoping would provide depth, but a few departures have hindered that.

Centrals coach Mathew Sproule said it hasn’t quite been the pre-season they had been hoping for in terms of growing their squad.

“The players have been really good,” he said. “Jimmy Roberts is now captain and has led from the front.

“It’s a little bit disappointing to lose three or four players after thinking we had started to build something last year.

“The young blokes we bought in for depth, now have to come in and play regular senior football.”

Sproule said of the players they bought in four were expected to play senior football, but two younger ones will miss early in the season due to injuries.

Brad Layton, from Darley, and Josh Thomas, from Point Cook, are two other key signings.

He said they thought they still had a really good core group of players, that have never been fitter, but would need some luck in terms of injuries this season

Sproule said with the club also struggling for numbers for the reserves, it was making it really hard in terms of depth.

“Some of the fringe players and reserves players will need to step up,” he said. “The main thing is the amount of numbers that we have.

“We’re struggling for twos players as well. Depth is an issue and we know where we are at.”

Sproule said they were still looking for more players to join the club to play reserves and said the club was feeling the effects of not having under-17s and under-19s the last three years but there was light at the end of the tunnel.

He said there would be no easy games this season.

He said they were confident of having a good season if they could get their best team on the park.

“With the Western Rams no longer there and Kyneton in the competition, every game will be hard, which is a good thing,” he said.

“If we can have a good run with injuries we will be just as good as last year.

“We didn’t lose by more than 35 points and were one point up against [eventual premiers] Diggers Rest at half time.”

Centrals have a bye in round one and will kick off their season on April 13 against Romsey.