Sport

Katunga looks to junior ranks to step up

By Aydin Payne

The 2020 season could be the year that the Swans rise from the bottom and continue their ascent up the Picola and District League ladder.

After multiple seasons of heartache, Katunga is beginning to see a brighter future ahead with its under-17 footballers coming off a memorable premiership last season.

The club has a plethora of young stars rising through, such as Max Hendy, Bailey Smith, Lochie Daniel, Sam Arho and Ben Whitford.

“We are heading into the second year of our rebuild,” senior coach Damian Kennedy said.

“Our thirds are coming off a premiership year which shows that the future is very bright for the club.

“We have quite a young list; with a lot of talented juniors coming through, we will look to blood some senior football experience into them.”

Although the Swans have looked to nurture their juniors, Kennedy revealed they were “close to bringing in a couple of players” after a trio of senior players indicated they would not be pulling on the red and white this year.

“Unfortunately, Ollie Small has ruptured his Achilles (tendon) over summer and he’s going to be a big out for us,” Kennedy said.

“We are devastated for him, but he is a very talented footballer and we’ll support him.

“And both Josh Smith and Jake Hodgkin come out of last year’s side due to studies and retirement.

 “And we are very close to welcoming a couple more senior players which will help our youngsters.”

Fast facts

COACH: DAMIEN KENNEDY

2019 FINISH: 12TH (2-14)

2019 BEST-AND-FAIREST: MITCH SIDEBOTTOM

2019 LEADING GOAL-KICKER: DYLAN SIDEBOTTOM (36)

GROUND: KATUNGA RECREATION RESERVE

NICKNAME: SWANS

IN: Nil

OUT: Ollie Small (injury), Josh Smith (studies), Jake Hodgkin (retired)