WEST Coburg has struggled to have a major impact since re-joining Strathmore Community Bank Premier Division in 2015.
Their best result came in 2016 – a 6-12 win-loss ratio that had the Burgers finishing eighth on the ladder.
Last year they slipped back to four wins but one of them was against finals-bound Strathmore at Shore Reserve in Round 9.
When West Coburg loses, it loses badly, but the lack of multiple and reliable focal points up forward has also been a contributing factor toward its consistently low percentage in recent years.
The Burgers addressed that need over the summer with the arrival of former St Kilda key forward, Daniel Archer.
“We’ve played under-sized for the past four years, that’s just been the nature of our group,” coach Digby Morrell told essendondfl.com.au.
“Ruairi Cleary’s had to play as that key forward and really, we need more options we can look up at and go forward to.
“That’s what Daniel’s going to bring. He’s a real presence around the group, he’s a large guy and he had a really good hit-out in our first practice game, so we think there’s going to be a lot of positives.”
Another positive is the return of Cam Conlon, who missed all of 2017 through injury.
Muhammad Saad will be another new face to look out for as he returns from a stint with the Gold Coast Suns’ NEAFL side, while both Omar Saad and Tom Baravi are back to help bolster a midfield that will be missing the outgoing Danko Bzenic.
Down back, Sam Spagnolo will hold down a key position role and Dom Spagnolo gives the side a new option in the ruck.
“Our list is going to be different to what it was last year,” Morrell said.
“In terms of talent, it’s probably fairly comparable but we think as a group we’re going to definitely have a better make-up – from a structural point of view.”
Unlike previous recruiting campaigns, West Coburg was able to add to its top-end, but a heavy focus will be placed on the continued development of its up-and-coming second tier.
“We’re playing (against) teams that have got lines of AFL or VFL talent,” Morrell said.
“You look at our list across the board and we don’t have that, so we need to continue to develop the quality of our list (and) continue to develop our young guys.
“We want to get as much game-time into our young kids as possible.
“Their growth can exponentially quicken with the induction of a little bit of talent and we think we’ve done that this year.”
Glenroy away is West Coburg’s first game on April 7.
Key Ins: Daniel Archer (forward, Rowville), Muhammad Saad (utility, Gold Coast Suns), Sam Spagnolo (defender, Old Trinity Grammarians), Dom Spagnolo (ruckman, Bundoora TBC), Omar Saad (midfielder, Maribyrnong Park) & Tom Baravi (midfielder, Maribyrnong Park)
Keys Outs: Danko Bzenic (Montmorency), Angelos Sidhom (Tullamarine), Harrison Tanner (Altona), Stuart Hobjin-Allen (Shepparton) & Michael Tang (North Launceston)
First Month: Glenroy (away), Aberfeldie (home, CCO), Maribyrnong Park (away) & Keilor (home, SR)