Josh Fraser is pleased by what has seen so far in pre-season. (PHOTO CREDIT: Carlton Media)
PREPARATIONS for 2020 are in full swing for the Northern Blues after the resumption of pre-season training.
After winning seven of their 18 games in 2019, the Blues have their sights set on a return to finals football this year after some positive signs last season.
With a new-look playing group taking shape, senior coach Josh Fraser believes that the Club is building its list to create a greater recipe for success in 2020.
“We’ve been fortunate to have really strong retention over the last couple of years,” Fraser said.
“We’ve been able to retain a core group of young players that have shown their ability at VFL level and we’ve also been able to keep guys who have been around a little longer as well.”
With players like Mason Blakey and Kieran Collins already having re-committed, Northern will also have some new faces in the coming season.
Fraser also noted how two previously AFL-listed recruits will bolster Northern’s list coming into the new season.
“Jordan Cunico has come to us from Geelong and we’ve put a program in place that we believe is going to set him up to have a really big season,” he said.
“Cody Hirst has been pretty electric on the track: his speed and his skill level really stood out since he’s been here.”
Welcome to Northern, Cody Hirst! ????????#Northbound
— Northern Blues FC (@NBluesFC) 12 December 2019
There’s one familiar face who is also bound to have a big impact in the coach’s mind.
Fraser suggested that the return of skipper Tom Wilson will leave a big impression on the rest of the playing group.
“I think people tend to forget that we didn’t have our captain: a three-time best-and-fairest winner who made the VFL Team of the Year,’ he said.
“Having Tom spend time in the coaching group and driving the leadership group really hard, I think he’s going to be a much better player and a much better leader which is a silver lining to what was a really disappointing injury.”
Fraser – and the rest of his coaching staff – said the excitement was palpable for the year ahead, believing those who have been signed and the impending recruits will enhance the alignment of the playing group.
“We want to win games of footy and we want to develop talent, that’s the challenge,” he said.
“I love coaching this footy club, I love the responsibility and am looking forward to the new year.”