Hungry Tigers out to reclaim top spot |PICTURES

IF you think playing in five straight grand finals keeps a club satisfied — think again.

Albury is hungrier than ever.

After consecutive losses to Yarrawonga in the past two deciders, memories of the Tigers’ hat-trick of premierships from 2009-11 are now exactly that — memories.

Those feelings of happiness have been quickly glossed over by the pain of recent years.

“I read something the other day that (Hawthorn captain) Luke Hodge said about how much losing a grand final kills you,” co-coach Daniel Maher said.

“It’s true.

“It definitely makes you hungrier.

“We’re probably in a similar boat.”

Albury’s stellar run under Paul Spargo will be forever etched in the history books but it holds little relevance to the Tigers’ crop.

They want to create their own legacy.

“Those three flags are things we’ll look back on at reunions but right now we’re only concerned about the now,” Maher said.

“You’re only as good as your last game, as they say, and right now we’re No.2.

“Things certainly don’t get any easier in a competition like this so we need to improve, otherwise we’ll get left behind.”

It’s where that improvement will come from that holds the most interest.

While Albury still boasts star quality in the form of Joel Mackie, Chris Hyde and Dean Polo, it’s undeniable the strong depth the club has boasted at reserve-grade level over recent seasons has somewhat diminished.

On paper, at least.

It’s for that reason that how well the young breed of Tigers stand up this year will play a big part in how Albury fares.

Jim Grills, Matt Munro, Lonnie Hampton, James McQuillan, Lachlan Dight, Andrew Dennis, Hayden Dalitz and Jeremy Duck are just a handful of names to keep an eye on.

“We’re really happy with the quality of our kids coming through,” Maher said.

“There will be opportunity there for them and certainly pressure on senior guys to perform, otherwise there will be a young guy there ready to take their spot.”

Not only have the Tigers got a strong bunch of youngsters coming through, the additions of Setanta and Aisake O’hAilpin, as well as SANFL star Brayden O’Hara, gives Albury even more top-end talent heading into the season.

“There’s certainly plenty of excitement with our recruits and a bit of a new feel around the place,” Maher said.

“We want to regain that No.1 title.”

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