COLAC IMPERIALS officials are confident the inclusion of a host of forwards will keep the Imps a contender this season.
The club was rocked following the departure of reigning Jack Mahoney Medallist Sean O’Neill, while 2015 recruits Michael Crossett, Jayke Mawson and Joel Jahn have all departed after one season.
But new co-coach Tom McKay remained confident the club had the depth to cover the losses, while the addition of Forrest key forward Jake Kearney, Elmore full forward Brad Canning, Otway Districts small forward Michael Gray and Colac junior forward Taylor Henry will keep the Imps a contender.
In the past three years that the Imps have made finals, the team’s strength has been a midfield that boasts McKay, Kyle Roberts and O’Neill, and a backline led by Adrian Murray and Simon Scott.
But McKay said he was excited to see the team in action with more avenues to goal.
“We’ve retained 95 per cent of the list and added to key areas in the forward half which we needed,” McKay said.
“From our point of view we’re expecting to play finals, but I think that’s something every team should strive for,” he said.
“With new players coming in, even though it can take time to gel, I think we’ve put together a competitive list.”
McKay said the new forwards also allowed forward-midfielders Jeremy Spokes and Tyson Finnigan to spend more time in the midfield, to fill the void left by O’Neill.
Fellow co-coach James Morgan will also join the midfield rotation, as well as former South Colac midfielder Kieran Mawson.
The Imps finished the 2015 season in fourth place, after suffering a straight-sets finals exit for the second year in a row.
McKay said the addition of more forward options would also bode well if injuries strike again.
“We had some key injuries coming into finals last year, Russ Whiteford missed the finals and the lack of a key forward really changed the dynamic of our team,” he said.
“We’ve got a few more options this season which I think will really help us.”