FEW could have seen the wave of momentum for the Tongala Football Club in the latter stages of 2019 coming.
Hanging around the top four for most of the year, the Blues got on a roll in the final weeks of the season, leading to an unlikely grand final appearance against the might of Nathalia.
While the Blues were unable to get past the Purples on the final day of the season, the quick turnaround of the senior side and a reserves premiership has confidence at an all-time high heading into 2020.
Coach Jordan Souter said his club was ready for the challenge of the new season.
“There’s a really good feeling among the playing group,” he said.
“We have a pretty similar playing list for this season as we did last year, everyone is on the same page about what our intentions are and what we want to achieve out of the year. It’s a pretty exciting time for us as a club.”
Tongala hasn’t looked far to strengthen their list, with several former players returning to the club, including former best and fairest winner Jack Monigatti.
Souter said the club was excited to welcome back players who already showed the values of the football club.
“We’ve brought back players like Shannon Tucker and Will Nevill as well,” he said.
“It’s always great to have local boys back at the club, especially those who have gone on and done things at other clubs where they can bring back their experience and help to grow the team.
“We’ve also got a strong group moving up from the thirds into senior football, we’ve seen a couple of extra locals coming to training as well. It’s great to see the Tongala community embrace the club.”
Souter said the final stages of 2019 showed the club what they were capable of, though he believes there is still room for improvement.
“We made a grand final, but for most of the year we were around fifth to seventh on the ladder,” he said.
“We showed later in the year we could go further, so we know what we are capable of. It’s more of a question of whether we can be consistent and stay at the top end of the ladder for the full season.”
INS: Malcolm Hedges (Lancaster), Rhys Denham (Lake Boga), Jack Monigatti (Nightcliff), Will Nevil (Springvale District), Shannon Tucker (Girgarre).
OUTS: Stephen Phillips (Lancaster), Tim Strapp (Lancaster), Tyson Di Petta (Girgarre).