Stanhope is preparing for a huge celebration this season – and hopes Kyabram District League premiership success can be the cherry on top.
The Lions will notch up 100 years as a club in 2020, and new coaches Mark Patten and Denis Grinton are hoping to play an attacking brand of football to excite supporters and players alike.
“We both like to take the game on and challenge the opposition in terms of fitness,” Patten said.
“We like to see our sides use the ball well and play a free-flowing type of football.
“One area to work on might be trying to work through some of the tight zones that sides like Nagambie can produce; they’re pretty well drilled, so there’s been a lot of game-style type training.”
Familiar faces can be found on the inclusions list for the Lions this season, but fresh talent like Rhett Sutton, Josh Dickerson and Luke Smailes will also look to make an impact at Gill Cochrane Oval.
“We’ve picked up seven or eight players, which is good,” Patten said.
“It’s been a normal pre-season I suppose, with a variety of other sports going on you can’t always get everyone on the track, but we’ve been working well with the numbers we’ve had.
“It’s all a bit different being the centenary year of the club, probably the main focus is just to have a pretty seamless year, trouble-free with everyone happy and positive.
“We hope all three sides can play finals; there’s lots of tough competition across the league and you always want to win flags but it’s getting harder and harder.”
Mark Adamson, Brenton Gray and Dean Wileman are also among the football coaching staff at Stanhope this season, while Patten believes the league as a whole is in good shape.
“It’s a pretty exciting year,” Patten said.
“We’ve got a great coaching staff and we’re really happy to have Denis back at the club as well.
“I think it will be very good for the league to have Shane Crawford involved and hopefully a more competitive Ardmona; you don’t get the opportunity to coach against someone like him (very often at all).
“There will be 10 or 11 sides competing strongly for finals, which is great for the comp.”
COACHES: MARK PATTEN AND DENIS GRINTON
2019 FINISH: FOURTH (11-7)
2019 BEST-AND-FAIREST: ALEC YOUNG
2019 LEADING GOAL-KICKER: BRAYDON KEARNS (46)
GROUND: GILL COCHRANE OVAL
IN: Rhett Sutton, Josh Dickerson (Mordialloc), Lachie West (Rochester), Luke Mann (Huntly), Jye Patten (Colbinabbin), Lachlan Armstrong (Rumbalara), Lukas Hanslow (Kyabram), Luke Smailes (Diggers Rest)
OUT: Cobey Aynsley, Brandon Corish, Jamie Spencer (Shepparton East), Sam Woodward (Congupna)