With Round One action coming up this weekend, the Sydney University NEAFL team held their season launch last Friday night. SUANFC President Chas Wilkinson, team captain Lewis Stevenson and co-vice captain Aaron Day gave their insights into both the preseason and the upcoming competition.
Wilkinson was enthusiastic about the work that has been done off the field in preparation. “The club’s done a fantastic job in preparing for the 2017 season. New coach, Tom Morrison and new GM, Chris Goodrope, have worked hard with our executive and committee to bring the season together.”
Along with a new head coach and general manager, Wilkinson also mentioned the excitement of new player signings joining the core group from last year. “I’m really excited about the group that Tom, Chris and Tristan Liles have brought together. It’s the culmination of quite a few years of work including the establishment of relationships with the Swans Academy and the pathway that was put in place by Tristan, the executive and our former senior coach in Daniel Gilmore.”
Stevenson is happy with how the new group is coming together. “We’ve got a lot of experience in guys like Jono Williams, Tom Young, Zac O’Brien and Jack Dimery. But we’ve also got a lot of young guys, some from the Sydney academy team, and these guys are adding a lot of depth to our squad.”
“It’s one of the best integrations of young blokes and older guys that I’ve seen at a footy club. The guys who have come in that are young are really mature and the guys who have got a bit of experience brought their own outlook on footy so the group’s coming together nicely,” Day added.
It is clear that defence has been the key focus on the field this preseason. In Day’s opinion, defensive methods have been the key. “Getting the right balance between attack and defence – it’s all coming together nicely. There are a few things we need to tick off before next week, but all in all it’s been a good start.”
A highlight of the preseason for Stevenson has been their clear focus. “We know we can attack well with the footy and move the ball really well but we are really focusing this preseason on defending. That’s one of the big things Tom has introduced since becoming coach.”
There is a great feeling around the club this season and, according to Captain Lewis Stevenson, one thing is certain. “We want no less than to win the premiership this year.”
The Students will travel to the Gold Coast to kick off their 2017 season. They take on Southport at 12pm on Saturday 1st April.