By ADEM SARICAOGLU
MELTON Centrals coach Brian Wheelahan doesn’t expect to go into this weekend’s season opener against Rockbank with a full-strength side.
However, that won’t stop Wheelahan’s men from pushing to get back into the Riddell District Football League finals action in five months’ time.
Wheelahan isn’t yet sure if his Blues’ long pre-season and new recruits will deliver better results on the field and on the table, but is hoping his side will gain some respect along the way this season.
“I guess you won’t get a good gauge on the sides to beat just yet, but we’re under no illusions that we’re still trying to find our mark within the competition as well as being respected on a week-to-week basis,” Wheelahan said.
“But our aim is to be competitive every week and not allow any blowouts and from what we’ve done thus far, I think we’ll be more than competitive.
“It’s been a long journey. We started back in November and the numbers have been fantastic and we’ve managed to recruit about five that will play in round one.
“We’re just sweating on a few injury concerns through our practice matches but hopefully we’ll have a healthy list and we’re looking forward to Rockbank.”
Centrals got found out in the clinches during their 2013 campaign – which yielded eight wins for a seventh-place finish.
For Wheelahan, 2014 will be all about making sure the basics are taken care of first.
“The big emphasis has been on our stoppage work around the ground,” he explained.
“We’re going to go back to basics and play one-on-one footy.
“We like to think we’re hard at it around the contests and that was probably the difference last year, and sometimes against our team rules we did our own thing. But I guess we just want to compete and hopefully win more 50/50s.”