K rock Football

Young guns to drive Supersaints resurgence

Bailey Brogden will be a key to St Albans resurgence. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

GFL battler St Albans will put its faith in a core group of talented youngsters to help it return to relevance.

Absent from finals since 2003, the Supersaints have invested heavily in their junior program in recent years, with the likes of Sam Wolfenden, Bailey Brogden and Harley Cobb receiving important exposure at senior level in the past couple of years.

“We’ve put a hell of a lot of time into making them understand that they’re not bit part players now,” newly appointed co-coach Chris Carlon said.

“They have to stand up and be ready to play good GFL football.

“A few of those names are good St Albans names as well, so it will be great to see them step up and take the challenge.

“So far they’re really training the house down.”

GFL: INS & OUTS

St Albans has been boosted by the signing of former Carlton rookie Caleb Tiller and the return from Queensland club Aspley of 2015 GFL Rookie of the Year Billy Beardsell.

The Supersaints will also see more of 2018 recruits Tyler Jones (two games) and Damon Hemphill (11), while former Geelong Falcon Hayden Elliott only managed eight matches after heading overseas early in the season.

Captain Tristan Battaglia is also expected to return early in the season after missing all of last year with a serious knee injury.

Carlon, who will share the role with star player Adam Boshevski, says using the wide expanses of The Gordon Oval to their advantage has been a focus of pre-season.

“Obviously, it’s one of the biggest grounds in Geelong, and if we can run it the right way (it can be an advantage),” he said.

“Out fitness work has been geared around being able to exploit teams here.

“We want to make teams not want to come here because of the size of the ground and because of the way that we play it.”

GFL: GRACE HEADS HOME

Despite the sudden exit of Hayden Best after Christmas only three months after brother Jarrod stood down, Carlon says it hasn’t impacted on the playing group.

“Bringing someone in from the outside was an option, but we didn’t know whether that was going to upset the playing group,” Carlon, who spent the last two years as an assistant coach at BFL premier Modewarre, said.

“Adam and I had a great chat over the break. We’ve only known one another for a couple of months, but we seem to get along quite well, and we have the same ideas on football.

“It wasn’t introducing anyone new; we could just roll on, which was great.”

The Supersaints open their 2019 campaign with a “Battle of the Break” clash against South Barwon at McDonald Reserve on April 6.

Twitter: @tom_king79