Chiltern has yet to win a flag since crossing to the Tallangatta and district league in 2003. But the Swans looked primed to break the drought. Coach Luke Brookes has guided his charges to successive top-three finishes in 2019 and again this year and will boast an even stronger list in 2022. The Swans are hungry for success and appear on a mission to claim an elusive flag. Brookes caught-up with The Border Mail this week.
BRENT GODDE: It's been a productive off-season after landing the prized signature of Scott Meyer alongside Troy Marx, Dylan Van Klaveren, Robert Phibbs, Mitch Anderson and Will Shannon all returning to the club?
LUKE BROOKES: I couldn't be happier with the off-season, especially after signing Scott Meyer. I think big Scottie will prove to be a trump card with his size and experience and will be a handful for most sides to try and combat. Especially during the finals series where the class players tend to shine.
BG: Incredibly you have kept your list intact without any departures?
LB: It's rare not to lose at least a couple but we haven't had any departures which is a promising sign.
BG: The return of dual best and fairest winner Danyl Woods who missed last season with an Achilles injury can't be underestimated?
LB: The return of Danyl is huge for us and everybody in the league knows that. His record speaks for itself and he is a real X-factor when fit and firing. Whether that's in the midfield or up forward.
BG: Most clubs struggle for quality big men but with Meyer, Kyle Magee, Tim Lehmann and Nick Bracher, the Swans are the envy of the competition?
LB: It is something that we have struggled with in the past but now we have four really top quality big men. Three of them are young and yet to reach their prime, so getting Scottie (Meyer) on board will be invaluable for their development.
BG: How have you tackled the pre-season so far?
LB: This year I've opted for something a bit different and haven't had any input. Brad Hibberson and Ethan Boxall have taken charge of the entire pre-season. Being my fifth year, we thought we would try something different. Both Brad and Ethan have done a superb job and it's the best pre-season I've seen during my time at the club.
ALSO IN SPORT
BG: Do you think COVID will rear its ugly head again during the season?
LB: Surely not. We have all been double jabbed so fingers crossed we can get back to having a normal season.
BG: Which side looms as the biggest improver at this early stage?
LB: I think Dederang-Mt Beauty have recruited well with Jordan Harrington one of the biggest signings of the off-season. Any side with Harrington alongside Elliott Powell in the midfield is going to be hard to beat.
BG: Who have you got starting the season as flag favourites?
LB: It's a toss up between Yackandandah and Kiewa-Sandy Creek. Yackandandah finished minor premiers and I'm pretty sure have kept everyone and added a couple. Kiewa-Sandy Creek are perennial finalists and always hard to beat in September. Getting Connor Newnham was one of the biggest off-season coups in my opinion.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.