K rock Football

Joeys look to avoid repeat of 2016

St Joseph’s celebrates its 2017 premiership win. (krockfootball.com.au Image/Marcel Berens)

HEATH Jamieson hopes “a bucketload of hard work” over the pre-season will help St Joseph’s avoid a repeat of its previous GFL premiership defence.

After snapping a 26-year premiership drought in 2015, many thought Joeys would have little trouble in going back-to-back in 2016.

However, history tells us that despite finishing third off the back off an unbeaten second half of the season, they weren’t in the same class as grand finalists Leopold and St Mary’s, exiting September after consecutive losses to the Saints and Grovedale.

Jamieson, who is entering his sixth season in the top job at Drew Oval, is confident they’ve done that hard work heading into 2018.

“We worked pretty hard in the 2015 season to our club where we wanted to be … the best football club in Geelong,” he said.

“We learnt the hard way how quickly that (title) can leave you.

“We’re in that position again, where we’ve had a really good season last year, and we want to make sure that when it comes the end of this season that we’re where we want to be.

“We don’t want to make finals, we don’t want to just scrape in, we want to be the best side … this year for us is exclamation marking the fact we’re the best footy club in Geelong.”

Jamieson says winning consecutive senior premierships for the first time in club history hasn’t been raised.

“What gets mentioned this time of year is the disappointment we did have (in 2016),” he said.

“What gets mentioned is that we know what makes us a good footy side, sides would have had a good look at what we do, we know that.

“Sides are going to come extra hard at us, which they have the last few years.

“So we just want to make sure we’re improving every year. In 2016 we went backwards.”

Joeys will take a similar list into the 2018 season, with superstar defender Daniel Lovick the only departure from the premiership team.

However, they may be impacted by VFL commitments, with Callum Mitchell and Jackson McLachlan already contracted by Geelong, and Brenton Rees, Ben Moloney and Ben McNamara all at Werribee.

Jamieson hopes the signings of Lucas Anderson (Lake Wendouree), Martin Dufty (Albion) and Curtis McCarthy (Glenelg), as well as the return of Josh Hovey from Torquay will offset any prolonged absences, while youngsters Max Hungerford and Angus Humphrey will get a chance to impress.

“One thing we’re pretty confident of is that our list has improved,” Jamieson said.

“We’re going to give ourselves every opportunity to be where we want to be at the end of the year.”

Meanwhile, Rhys Hultgren and Alex Hickey have been named co-captains for 2018, replacing two-time premiership skipper Ben Capra.

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Twitter: @tom_king79

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