NEWLY appointed Wodonga Saints coach Zach Pleming has praised the efforts of co-coaches Gerard Midson and Jesse Wellington who he has replaced at the helm.
Pleming crossed to Martin Park three years ago as an assistant coach and believes the pair have instilled a lot more self-belief in the playing group.
Since 2008, the perennial whipping boys have collected eight wooden spoons with eighth spot in 2014 their highest finish on the ladder.
But Pleming believes Midson and Wellington have transformed the Saints into a lot more competitive side and have laid the foundation for future success.
"I thought Gerard and Jesse have been able to put the club back on the right track," Pleming said.
"I know our win-loss record is not great but we were in the midst of a 21-match losing streak.
"We were able to pinch a couple of wins last season and were a lot more competitive.
"They chose to develop the kids and the club will reap the benefit of that going forward.
"They also recruited a few experienced blokes to help the kids.
"It would have been great to play this season to see how much further we had progressed.
"But it is, what it is I guess."
IN OTHER NEWS
Pleming is looking forward to the challenge of coaching and feels a stint under the highly regarded Daryn Cresswell will stand him in good stead.
"I've always had the passion to coach," he said.
"When I was younger I remember watching dad coach and that passion has rubbed off on me I guess.
"I have been trying to gain as much experience as possible.
"I feel playing under Daryn Cresswell at Wodonga Raiders for two years I learnt a lot, especially tactically.
"Playing under Daryn really fuelled my passion and now I have got the opportunity to make my own mark as a coach."
Pleming is confident of retaining the majority of the list.
The 26-year-old said one or two key forwards and some ball winning midfielders were high on the recruiting wish-list.
"I expect to lose a few players as it tends to happen when any new coach is appointed," he said.
"But I will be doing my best to recruit at least a couple of experienced players.
"We need a bit more firepower up forward and some additional midfield grunt.
"Every club in the district also wants a dominant ruckman but as you know they are seldom found."
The Saints have also appointed former Wodonga Raider Brent Mayne as a non-playing assistant coach.