APOLLO Bay Football Club made the right move when it appointed former clubmen Tyson Holt and Tim Smith to lead its senior team.
A lack of player numbers and depth led to a winless season last year, landing the Hawks the dreaded wooden spoon.
But new coach Holt and assistant coach Smith returned to their former club with the goal of bringing players back and improving on last year’s results.
“We want to get some old Bay boys back and try to get a bit of improvement more than anything,” Smith said.
“It was such a bad year last year, we’re hoping to get a bit of depth and get off the bottom of the ladder,” he said.
“So far things are looking good – we’ve been getting some pretty consistent numbers to training, a bit of enthusiasm, everyone’s really looking forward to it.”
The recruiting campaign has almost attracted more than 10 ready-made senior footballers, including Smith and Holt.
Heading the list is high-profile key forward Cameron Tate who comes back after a year off, along with fellow former Hawks Casey McDonald, Troy Van Santer, Ted O’Neil and Michael Fitzgerald.
Skilful Geelong Amateur midfielder Marty White and key position player Jack Pascoe, who played cricket with the Hawks this summer, return to their former junior club.
But there have also been new faces to the club, including midfielders Isaac Anderson, Ben Chandley, Hamish Tamlin and Damian Flanders.
“There’s also a couple of young blokes we think we’ll see a fair bit of, like Alex Lindsey who played a bit last year,” Smith said.
“Ultimately we want to get as many wins as can and aim for finals, if we can get some enthusiasm and make the club a fun place to be we’ll attract more players and get them to stick around,” he said.
The only major blow to the Hawks this pre-season has been the loss of skipper Jeremy Ellis to Nirranda and key forward Chris Canavan.
Young midfielder Anthony Bolitho has crossed to join brother Michael at Otway Districts.
Talented juniors will cover netball departuresby Lachlan Cowlishaw
APOLLO Bay hopes to cover netball player exits with talented juniors this season.
The Hawks have lost at least five senior players from last year’s A Grade team.
But Apollo Bay hopes to fill the gaps with returning players including Candice Huybens and Lauren Nichols as well as promoting talented juniors.
Junior league best-and-fairest winner Laura Taylor joins Hawks goal machine Jodie Bertrand in the attacking circle while talented youngster Kiera Flack slots into the midcourt.
Apollo Bay’s Stacey Wilson said the Hawks would share coaching duties between senior players this season.
“It’s one of those years where we’ve had a lot of players leave the club and we’ve not been able to work on developing those spots,” Wilson said.
“I’m just hoping we can be competitive this year and maintain our players; we’ve definitely got A and B teams and we’ll be concentrating on those teams doing well.”
Wilson said she was scaling back her A Grade commitments this season but would help the team where needed.
“That’s what I’ve done, I tried to step back this year but we’ve had senior players stand up and take training and we’d like to share the role this year,” she said.
“We want to get the whole team in on running things together and we think that’s working well for us.”
Wilson said the Hawks looked forward to a promising year.
“There’s a positive feel around the club, all the girls are happy and training well and I can’t see any problems in the near future,” she said.
“It’s going to be a development year for us, we hope to develop a couple of the young ones to step up into those senior positions.”