Josh Fraser is excited by what his Northern Blues can achieve in 2019. (PHOTO CREDIT: Cristian Filippo)
NORTHERN Blues senior coach Josh Fraser believes the Club’s VFL program has never been better placed.
Heading into the 2019 season, Fraser is preparing for his fourth season at the helm, with the team to return to action this week.
And with Thursday’s match against Port Melbourne putting pre-season into overdrive, Fraser has been delighted by what he’s seen so far.
“I think the Club is as well-placed as it has been for a long time, particularly with the player retention,” Fraser said.
“The VFL is such a competitive competition where results can fluctuate. We’re looking for consistency: when supporters come and watch us, hopefully they see a team playing with genuine spirit.
“We’re all really excited for 2019 and hopefully everyone sees that spirit that we’re talking about on the field.”
After a long pre-season which has seen new recruits join the returning names, Fraser said the progress that has been made by the playing group has been a source of excitement this summer.
He said he was looking forward to his side putting the hard work to the test against the Borough at Ikon Park.
“At this time of year, every club will be excited by where they sit and we’re no different,” he said.
“The chance to play and perform against an opposition is exciting, especially the first one of the season against one of the traditional VFL clubs in Port Melbourne.
“As a club, we have a heap of respect for them, and we’re keen to get out there and perform and give ourselves an idea in terms of our system.”
With another influx of talent at AFL level, Fraser said there continued to be steps taken to ensure the relationships and knowledge of the VFL program were always improving.
“For the new guys who come into the Club, we certainly talk to them about the history of the northern Blues and going back to the time when we were the Preston Bullants,” he said.
“It’s great to see both AFL and VFL players mingle… it’s a process that is always ongoing. That connection and synergy is really important.
“It doesn’t mean every young guy that has come to the Club will predominantly be playing VFL, but the landscape is we’ll have a number of Carlton players with the Northern Blues every weekend.”
After speaking of his delight when welcoming Kieran Collins and Alex Johnson to the Club, the Blues welcomed former Hawk Jonathan O’Rourke in the lead-up to the 2019 season.
Fraser said the midfielder would prove to be a valuable addition at Preston City Oval this year.
“The most recent addition is Jono O’Rourke, we’re really pleased to bring him in,” he said.
“He’s a premiership player at VFL level in 2018 with Box Hill and he’s going to add some class to our midfield and leadership to our playing group.
“We’re really pleased with the additions we’ve made to complement the guys who have recommitted to our football club.”
Northern returns to action on Thursday when it hosts Port Melbourne at Ikon Park. The game will begin from 3:45pm: it was previously scheduled for 4pm, but has been brought forward to allow for extended breaks.