The Benalla Saints have had their first pre-season hit out with a loss to Myrtleford. The final score was Myrtleford 13.7 to Benalla 9.7.
Best players: C. Welsh, D. Mennen, J. Marchbank, J. Spinks, J. Dunne, B. McDonald.
Coach Luke Morgan was happy with the effort of the younger players in the first practice match of the season.
‘‘They jumped us at the start and got off to an early lead in the first quarter. I was very happy with how the younger guys played in our first hit out for the season. We have plenty to work on and have a number of areas for improvement,’’ Morgan said.
The Saints are coming off an exciting season, blooding a number of new recruits and making finals with a young, inexperienced team.
The Saints finished 2017 sixth on the ladder with a 10-8 record after a fast start, winning seven of their first nine games.
Coach Luke Morgan was impressed with the young talent coming through, with players rising from the thirds a few years ago into the firsts and making an immediate impact.
‘‘We had a few players who have been playing reserves or thirds previously have breakout years in the seniors. We have a really young list and seeing these guys improve every year is really promising for the club,’’ Morgan said.
‘‘Brody Webster had a breakout year across half back and won our best and fairest. It was great to see him develop into a vital player for our team and become a great leader.’’
With the club losing a few senior players for the upcoming season, the Saints will have to rely on their younger players who have been at the club for a few seasons to step up.
‘‘We are expecting Jack Spinks, Chris Welsh and Jamie Dunne to step up this year. They are looking really promising in the pre-season and I think they are going to thrive in a more senior role this year,’’ Morgan said.
With a number of district clubs poaching players from the Saints every year, the emphasis is focused on the 18-20 year old players, who make up most of the team this year.
‘‘With a high turnover of players the past few years, the emphasis has really been on developing the younger guys and giving them an opportunity to show their skills.
‘‘We are really looking forward to the 2018 season beginning. Our pre-season has been strong and we look to improve on last year’s results. Our development from our younger players coming though will be really exciting,’’ Morgan said.
Benalla Saints Ins / Outs for 2018
Ins: Sam Kunkel, Zach Berthun, Ryan Harper, Cameron Symes, Clint Relf, Didier Stobart.
Outs: Jarrod Bannister, Jayden Guppy.
Best and Fairest 2017: Brody Webster.
Coach: Luke Morgan.
President: Lloyd Johnson.
The Benalla Saints Youth Girls team is still looking for players for this season; anyone interested can train on Wednesday nights at pm at the Benalla Showgrounds
The season launch is on Saturday night at 6.30pm in the Redgum Room. All welcome.