Yarra Junction Football Netball Club are aiming to have a competitive year in Division Two, following a busy pre-season training program and recruitment drive where the objective was to set the Eagles up as a destination club long term.
Training attendance in the men’s football department has been outstanding, with approximately 65 players turning out collectively across the pre-season over different nights.
Richard Brown and Kyle Ousley will return as coach of the seniors and reserves sides, but a change in on-field leadership will present itself this year, with club stalwart Allan Chandler stepping aside from the role.
Incoming club president Troy Armstrong is looking forward to a great year, where strong player retention and recruitment see the Eagles in a strong position to attack.
“We have added a lot of pace to the side, but more importantly, we wanted more local players and groups of mates to come onboard because ideally, we really want them to stay around,” he said.
“Everyone has virtually stayed on, so we’re looking forward to the year.”
The Eagles have managed to pick up some brilliant talent to bolster the men’s football department, securing the signatures of Brayden Mead from Norwood, Josh Wall from Woori Yallock, Harry Relf from Montrose and Jared Derksen from Ferntree Gully.
The club is also lucky to see some returning players this season through the likes of Sam Cannon and Tim Peters, who will come back from Chirnside Park, while David Looz and Luke Foreman, both of which had previously signed to play for Yarra Junction will finally take to the field, having played in the senior premiership side for Belgrave in 2017.
Despite losing a couple of players to other clubs, namingly Patsy Boxell to The Basin, the women’s football team have also trained well over the pre-season and all players are happy with where they are at leading into 2022.
New coach David Spicer has implemented a solid program for his side, which included some involvement with the men’s training schedule and seen some real benefits.
In the netball department, obtaining numbers to fill all senior sides will be a challenge, with players likely to double up throughout the year.
“We lost a few of our younger girls over the off-season due to study and work commitments which take priority for them,” Armstrong said.
“The numbers are going to be tough, but we are still going to field four senior teams, the girls are training hard and they seem happy enough which is the main thing.”
As a full season of football and netball is about to get underway, the Eagles are really looking forward to what they can do in 2022, particularly after what the last two years have produced.
“Everyone is happy and enjoying training and it’s got this level of excitement we haven’t had for a few years,” Armstrong explained.
“Just going by the training track and level of enthusiasm and excitement, it’s really held us in good stead.”
Following the recruitment drive in the football department and strong training program, Yarra Junction are expecting to have a strong year in 2022, with finals an initial aim across the club.
“I would like us to finish in the top three across both seniors and reserves as I certainly believe we are capable of getting there,” Armstrong explained.
“For netball, we need to get teams back in finals as we haven’t made it for the last couple of years.
“With women’s footy, it’s really going to be about continuing the good form from last year because I don’t see any reason why they can’t replicate it.”