Glenn Strachan is hopeful a fourth season at the Northern Blues will bring a return to finals football. (PHOTO CREDIT: Northern Blues Football Club)
Round 19, 2017 will provide the spur for Glenn Strachan and the Northern Blues this pre-season.
With the Blues setting their sights on a return to finals footy, the co-vice captain of previous years said it was “hard to forget” the events of 2017’s final game.
The last round loss meant Northern missed out on the top eight by percentage, as the Blues now enter their third week of pre-season some three months later.
“It absolutely does stick with you, I was chomping at the bit to get back to pre-season because you don’t easily forget stuff like that,” Strachan said.
“The only team that would’ve spent the off-season completely content would’ve been Port Melbourne, because they won it. Everyone else is in the same boat.”
With 10 sessions down in his fourth pre-season at the Northern Blues, Strachan has been buoyed by the progress being made on the track.
As someone who has seen team improvement in each season at the club, Strachan said the new-look playing group – led by the coaching staff – was intent on continuing that trend heading into next year.
“We just want to keep improving. We’ve gone four wins, six wins, eight wins since I’ve been here,” Strachan said.
“Josh Fraser has been really clear that the jump from eight to 10 or 12 is really difficult, and that’s the difference we have to make up.”
After making his way from Collingwood to the Northern Blues at the end of 2014, Strachan has been on both sides of the VFL system.
With a return to smaller numbers this pre-season, Strachan said there were definite positives about the squad of 40 on the track.
“The weight of numbers is a lot different with no Development competition: I think we had something like 80 guys on the track last year, compared to 40,” Strachan said.
“You form some really tight relationships with guys who have either been here for a while or those just coming into the system.
“Having said that, you always miss some of the guys who have moved on away from the club to other things: guys like Zach Ballard, Luke Russell and Dyson Stevens.”
A number of new faces have joined Strachan and the rest of the players among the training group, but the 27-year-old credited four returning youngsters with setting the tone on the track.
“Fraser Pearce and Chris McCabe have had VFL experience before, but they’re still quite young: they’re clearly both really keen to hit the track hard and make a big pre-season count,” Strachan said.
“Then there are guys like Marcus Stavrou and Kane Keppel, who we’re hoping really develop and come on after what they offered in their first seasons.”
Looking to build on 41 career VFL games, Strachan said outlining specific goals for the duration of pre-season was “a hard one to answer”.
“You go into pre-season with goals but they’re a work in progress and you keep adapting them as you go along,” Strachan said.
“Personally I just want to get into the best footy-ready shape I can be for what we’re hoping is a longer season than the last one.”