Melton has welcomed back a suite of premiership players as it attempts to make amends for last year’s Ballarat Football League straight sets finals exit.
After winning the premiership in 2022 the Bloods suffered no premiership hangover, only losing four games for the year. However, half of the losses came in the most important games of the season.
Following the one point semi final loss to East Point, premiership coach Aaron Tymms announced his departure from the club, paving the way for Troy Scoble to take the reins.
Player retention and recruitment was always going to be the first major test for Scoble.
With just two players leaving the club and quality coming through the doors, he said he has been filled with confidence.
“Whenever there’s a change in coach at a footy club, especially locally, there’s that opportunity for all players to consider where their future is going to be,” he said. “So for us to get an endorsement from 98 per cent of the list was really good for the club.
“I think the players were quite aware that the new coaching team would be somewhat different to what they had recently experienced. It was a really good opportunity for them to think about whether they wanted to be part of that.
“For us to then get that we felt like that endorsed the vision that we were going to take the club on.”
Amongst the players arriving at the club are brothers Jaycob and Lachlan Hickey, Bailey Mawson, and Harrison Hanley, all of which are 2022 premiership players.
Scoble said the talent that was returning was quite strong.
“There’s some really exciting young talent that have already played in premierships at senior level, so you’d like to think that they’re really going to add some strength to the squad,” he said.
“Our focus has really been on bringing Melton people back who weren’t at the club. We’ve brought a couple of players back who had left the club or stopped playing for whatever reason.
“We’ll have probably five or six players return plus a group of players that were either unable to play last year or give limited commitment, have now stepped up their commitment.
“We’re really excited about our squad, it’ll be a local squad, which is something that the club has been really proud of in recent years.”
Scoble said finals remains his goal for the season, yet he is keen to unearth some talent along the way.
“We know that we’ll have a really deep list of talent so we’re really committed to try and give as many players across the whole list a senior opportunity as possible,” he said.
“But certainly our major goal will be to be a finals team and once we get in a position if we’re able to qualify, then we will look at where we might be able to finish.
“My assessment of the whole league is that it’s a very even league and anyone of seven or eight teams could finish in any of the top seven or eight spots, so I think it’s going to be a very even competition again.”
Melton is set to kick off its season against rivals Melton South on April 13.