Watsonia coach Corey McCall believes his side still has plenty of improvement to make despite a promising start to the A Plus Labour Solutions Division 2 season.
McCall said that while there were times over the pre-season that allowed the club to celebrate its 2016 Heidelberg Golf Club Division 3 premiership triumph, the focus had to quickly shift towards maintaining a solid brand of footy in 2017.
“The players know that it’s a jump from Division 3 to Division 2, so it was important that we got off to a good start,” McCall told NFL.org.au.
“You want to try and get wins early rather than try and chase them at the end of the season.
“Not to put a ceiling on this season but we’ve got to keep fronting up to every game and be as competitive as we can. 2017 is a year of consolidation for Watsonia.”
Watsonia overcame its first hurdle after it defeated Panton Hill by 27 points in Round 1.
But knowing the competition that awaits the Saints throughout the season, McCall is aware of the importance of consistency.
“We’ve got to work hard and improve in a lot of areas to obviously compete when you know you’ve got North Heidelberg waiting to play you,” he said.
“You can’t just focus on one or two games, as an entirety we need to improve in a lot of areas.
“Division 2 last year had a big jump from the top four to the bottom four. (If) we’re going to come in and be competitive we have to create our own brand.“
Watsonia’s task of jumping into second division was made more difficult after losing seven players following last year’s premiership win, but McCall is confident the many inclusions in 2017 will be able to play a significant role for the side.
“We were able to attract some really good people to the footy club, in terms of coaches as well as players,” he said.
“Some of the players we got in have played Division 1 footy. They bring with them a different element.
“We looked at young players who can also make an impact, not just big-name players who people tend to look at but guys who can come in and play a role.”
McCall has been impressed with how quickly the new players have been able to fill the void left by many of the clubs departing stars.
“Christian Janev from Epping has worked hard and had a really good first-up game,” McCall said.
“Scott Barnett and Allan Young have been really good in terms of what we’re doing and buying into the game plan.
“Lewis Franz has come in and played a role in the backline. There is great upside about him being a young guy for the future.”
While the win against Panton Hill was a step in the right direction, McCall has set only short-term goals rather than looking ahead to a potential finals push.
“At the end of the day we’ve got to take it week by week,” McCall said.
“There are elements like injuries that can test your depth out so it’s more of a whole club thing and getting everyone educated with the game plan.
“Teams going up a division – it’s tough, but as a club we’ve just got to be up for the challenge. It’s pretty hard to come up and play finals, so it’s about building and creating a culture at the club.
“We want a group of players who want to play together and stick together, so it’s baby steps even with the under-19s.
“A lot of hard work’s been done, but I think Watsonia will bear the fruit.”
Watsonia travels to Main Street Recreation Reserve this Saturday to take on Thomastown. Both teams will be aiming to turn four points into eight early in the A Plus Labour Solutions Division 2 season.