Those at the Emerald Football Club are “quietly confident” of what the Club can achieve in 2021.
The Bombers, led by coach Jamie Marshall, showed plenty of promise in 2019, highlighted by a Round 13 win over eventual premier Doveton, despite just missing out on finals.
And Club President Mark Pedders says they’ll be looking to build on that again this year.
“Our expectation this year is to play finals and I think we’re got the coaching group and the list to do it,” he said.
“It’s been tough for the boys, having down those two preseasons, but we’ve tried hard to keep the preseason fun and light and I know the coaches have tried to do a lot more match sim.
“After 2019, we recruited fairly well for 2020 with some older, most experienced players.”
The new players Pedders is referring to include the likes of Corey Moore, formerly of Langwarrin, and Ethan Grose, formerly of Upper Ferntree Gully, who he believes both will bring plenty of spark to the side.
Matt Livermore, who was due to return last season, has remained at the club, as have 2020 recruits Mehdi Daoud and Patty Chin.
Pedders is also excited to see what some of the Bombers can produce now that they have a few years of senior footy under their belts.
“Our remaining boys that have been there for a while are bigger and stronger,” he said.
“They now have 23/24 year old bodies rather than 20/21 year old bodies, and bringing that experience will see us in good stead.”
The Bombers will be in good hands with skipper Nic Jansen leading the charge for the second year.
“‘Janno’ is a fantastic captain and he’s been a spectacular leader for us,” Pedders said.
“We couldn’t ask for a better skipper.”
Emerald’s netball recruiting following the conclusion of the 2019 season was also strong, as the club looks to reap the benefits of some added experience.
Ex-Narre Warren skipper Leigh Taylor, as well as VNL stars Tayla Shannon and Kaylah Loulanting, will all pull on the Red and Black in 2021.
“We’ve recruited well and our U17s side is also really exciting with young talent, they’re fantastic to watch,” Pedders said.
“I think all our five sides will be quite competitive.”
A fixture highlight for the Bombers will be their Round 2 Anzac clash on April 24 against Gembrook Cockatoo, which has been planned in conjunction with the Emerald RSL.
Both teams will be wearing Anzac jumpers/netball dresses and will be escorted onto the ground by pipes and drums ahead of a traditional Anzac Service. Eight World War II planes will conduct a flyover, and there will also be a replica World War II cannon firing.
Following the service, there will be free finger food and drinks at bar prices for all Emerald, Cockatoo and Gembrook RSL members.
The Bombers open their season against Mount Evelyn this Saturday, April 17.