Officer Senior Football Club endured a tough off-season, losing several players from its senior men’s team, but a strong recruitment drive now sees the Kangaroos of Starling Road shaping up to be genuine contenders as they make the step up into Premier Division.
The main highlights of the recruitment drive include the likes of:
Tanner Thomsen also joins Officer while Jack Brettoner, initially signing at the end of 2019, will finally take the field this year following the cancellation of season 2020 and then injuring his knee in 2021.
Despite the initial lack of numbers, pre-season training has been a success with the club implementing a game plan that will be competitive when they take the field.
Doug Koop and Bill King will return to lead each of the seniors and reserves sides this season and will be ably supported by several assistants both in a playing and non-playing capacity.
Troy Tharle comes across from Cranbourne as a senior assistant coach to Koop, while 2021 Best & Fairest winner Anthony Bernardo has led some of the training drills.
The objective over the off-season has been to diversify some of the training drills and challenge the way players have been thinking in the past.
Club president Nick McLellan is happy with where his club sits now, despite initial challenges late last year.
“Pre-season was slow at first because of the COVID-19 hangover, but since Christmas, we have been seeing 45-50 people on the track,” he said.
“We have been doing full contact scratch matches where the numbers and overall feeling around the club has been fantastic.”
While committed to field seniors and reserves teams, the club is hopeful of also being able to field U19’s and women’s teams.
The level of passion that training has provided thus far, particularly with the new players, has been outstanding and it has also provided opportunities for younger players under the age of 21 to take the next step in their football journey.
“I am excited to see what they can do, but their enthusiasm and drive to be the best they can has injected real energy into the place.”
Just as Officer are about to step into premier division for the first time in Outer East FN, the challenge of competing consistently against quality opposition is appealing and the basic expectation is to be competitive.
“I don’t think there will be an easy game, which is exactly the standard of what premier division is,” McLellan explained.
“We will win and lose games, but I would like to think we can be in the hunt come September.
“Off-field, we will continue the work the club has done with the local community, whether with small businesses or anything of that nature as we have an important role to play in our region.”
With two weeks to go until the commencement of season 2022, Officer are still on the lookout for a coach to lead its talented group of Under 19’s footballers and welcome all applications to the role.