EAST Sunbury coach Steve Grey knows 2018 is a big year for his footy club.
The Thunder has never made finals in five attempts since joining the EDFL in 2013, but the improvement has been steady of late in Strathmore Community Bank Division 2.
Last year, Grey’s young charges steamrolled eventual premier, Jacana – a clear sign that East Sunbury has well and truly arrived.
But finals are the obvious next step in their journey, and anything less this year will be considered a failure.
“I’ve told the club that it’s a failure if we don’t make the finals and that’s the expectation I’ve put on myself,” Grey admitted.
“The new players we’ve picked up are pretty good footballers, so with the young group we’ve got, they know that they need to believe in themselves that we can play finals and go deep into the finals.”
It’s been a solid summer of recruiting at Lancefield Road and the end result has been a net gain of up to eight senior players that’ll be looking to have an impact this season.
Kamen Ogilvie’s return is massive for the club and the arrival of several young up-and-coming midfielders will give the side a fresh look.
The only key departure has been Aaron Aquilina.
“We needed to strengthen our midfield, so we did go out and chase midfielders,” Grey explained.
“But we’ve still kept the same list from last year apart from one so overall, we’re looking pretty strong.
“The group is pretty confident and there’s a great vibe around the place.”
The continued development of the club’s youth is still a major priority, and the emergence of Tom Cree last year was particularly exemplary.
This year’s batch of new midfield recruits now have their opportunity to put their names up in lights.
“All those new guys are young,” Grey said.
“The oldest player in the ones will probably be 26 this year, so it is a very young group.
“But they are going to have an impact in the competition this year, that's the belief we’ve got.
“We’re building the depth.”
East Sunbury will host Hadfield to open its season on April 7.
Key Ins: Kamen Ogilvie (defender, Hepburn), Brad Bernacki (midfielder, Calder Cannons), Connor Lever (midfielder, Romsey), Shane Lindsay (midfielder, Woodend-Hesket), Kane Hill (forward, Sunbury), Tim Hill (midfielder, Sunbury), Jamerson Campbell (midfielder, Diggers Rest), Anthony Sammut (midfielder, Sunbury) & Adam Smith (forward, Keilor)
Keys Outs: Aaron Aquilina (Coburg Districts)
First Month: Hadfield (home), Burnside Heights (away), Roxburgh Park (home) & Northern Saints (home)