WANGARATTA Rovers coach Mick Caruso has warned his Hawks they can’t simply expect to improve on last year’s preliminary final finish.
They’ll have to work for it.
Rovers stunned much of the competition last year with their meteoric rise up the ladder and with one of the competition’s youngest lists, many expect the Hawks to further improve on that performance and contend for the premiership this year.
But that improvement won’t just happen, according to their coach.
“If anything, we’ll have to work harder this year,” Caruso said this week.
“We did have a much-improved year but it won’t just happen for us this year.
“The guys know that.
“Things are looking good for the future, a lot of younger guys got a taste of senior footy last year and we certainly hope to see some natural improvement, but we need to keep working.”
Caruso said he was comfortable with the Hawks’ list, but didn’t rule out adding to that group before the club’s season opener against Wodonga Raiders on March 30.
A key forward to replace Barry Hall is at the top of the Hawks’ wishlist, with ruck support for Karl Norman also on the Hawks’ recruiting radar.
The Hawks have kept their losses to an absolute minimum, with Hall, Andrew Hamilton and Brayden Carey still the only confirmed departures from W.J. Findlay Oval.
And in a significant boost, they have added gun midfielder Sam Carpenter to their stocks.
Meanwhile, veteran skipper Ross Hill has told to the club he intends to relinquish the captaincy.
“He’s indicated to us that he’s keen to pass the baton on,” Caruso said.
The Hawks will travel to Falls Creek next month for their preseason camp.
Meanwhile, Corowa-Rutherglen big man Jarred Lane has put weeks of speculation to bed by re-committing to the Roos.
Captain Jamie Seymour, Mark Ainley and Matt Gadsden, will also remain at John Foord Oval.