HADFIELD only got to sing the song once in 2018.
The Hawks ended up on the bottom of the Strathmore Community Bank Division 2 ladder, but if their fruitful summer recruiting is anything to go by, then expect that to change in 2019.
The arrivals of Brad Murphy and Heath McKerchar alone are enough to leave you feeling optimistic about Hadfield’s prospects this year.
But the fact that, for the most part, the entire 2018 list has stayed at the club, means that second-year coach Brett Pitts has been able to get on the front foot and add some more depth for the upcoming season.
“I think the main focus for us has been shoring up that age bracket between 23 to 28,” Pitts told essendondfl.com.au.
“We’ve done that with about seven or eight recruits and they’re all good players who’ve played good footy.
“So I know for a fact that we’re going to be a six to seven-goal better side than we were last year but where that puts us this year on the ladder in terms of wins is to be determined.
“We’re not setting any targets, but we’re pretty ambitious and we’ve got a pretty good squad.
“We’re going to be pretty competitive.”
Benalla All Blacks duo Ben Pretty (key forward) and Andrew Trende (key defender) are two new talls that will add some extra height at either end of the ground, while the remaining batch of new players will largely rotate through midfield.
“Last year we were quite young,” Pitts said.
“We’d be in games for two or three quarters and with those young bodies, it was too much load.
“They couldn’t sustain it for four quarters, so I think this year we’ve been able to add not only some experience but a little bit of height as well.
“We’ve really bolstered our midfield depth as well, so a little less of that responsibility falls onto those kids and at the moment, I feel like we’ve got a pretty good mix of some experience and some good youth coming through.”
Murphy, a former Western Bulldog, is expected to be available for half of the home-and-away season as he juggles his playing commitments with a new coaching role at the Calder Cannons.
Pitts was keen to get the highly-regarded 35-year-old across to Martin Reserve to help develop the club’s senior program as a whole.
“We’ll probably get him for about nine games, which is a really good result,” Pitts said.
“He’s been down at training a few times and his experience, not just for the group but for me as a new coach as well, is invaluable.
“With that AFL background and extensive coaching background, I think a lot of the young kids are going to learn plenty off him, so it’s pretty exciting to have him with us.”
In: Brad Murphy (forward, St Albans), Heath McKerchar (midfielder, Wallan), Brandon McRedmond (forward/midfielder, Talbot), Matthew Dalpiaz (defender, Roxburgh Park), Ben Pretty (key forward, Benalla All Blacks), Andrew Trende (key defender, Benalla All Blacks), Jacob Dyer (midfielder, Ganmain Grong Grong Matong) & Lewis Wetherbee (midfielder, University Blacks)