The Belconnen Magpies will field a team comprised of star veterans and promising youngsters as they strive to become the premier team in AFL Canberra.
Boosted by the re-signings of representative stars James and Lexi Bennett, Ryan Turnbull and Chris York, the club has good reason to be optimistic ahead of 2015.
Coupled with the experienced core group this season will be a raft of club juniors looking to make a name for themselves in the competition.
Senior Coach Jeremy Rowe has labelled the upcoming season as one of re-adjustment following the competition restructure, but says the club has responded well to the challenge.
“The club has kept important resources to give us the opportunity to succeed, and as far as the playing group goes, we’ve put in a pre-season I’m quite happy with.”
Club culture is one thing Rowe believes helped Belconnen to retain many senior players, highlighting that as an encouraging sign for the Magpies following a restructure that has tightened the competition.
“It speaks volumes about the footy club. These type of quality people would have [sought] greener pastures if they didn’t want to stay at Belconnen but they certainly did.
From a coaches perspective it certainly makes you feel really confident that you’re going to put a good team on the paddock when you’ve got those guys to lead the charge.”
Rowe believes his side will mould around a talented midfield.
“Our starting midfield will be quite strong and I think that that will set us up quite well.
I think that we’ve got a nice balance of experienced, quality players along with some young guys coming through that really could complement each other quite well.”
Belconnen open their season with a clash against a promising Tuggeranong Hawks outfit in front of the Magpie faithful, a game that looms as a massive opportunity to make a statement to the rest of the competition.
“Everyone is looking for those early wins, there’s no question.
No one wants to get caught in a position late in the season where they’re having to win a number of games on the trot to qualify for finals.”
Belconnen have the chance to get their season off to a strong start, hosting each game in the opening month of the competition at The Nest.
“It’s great that we kick off with a run of home games, because we love our home, and we enjoy playing there.”
But Rowe is refusing to allow complacency to creep in to his line-up.
“We’re a fairly professional unit, whether we’re playing at home or away, I probably wouldn’t use that as a big focus. I’d like to think we’d just get on with our business.”
ARTICLE WRITTEN FOR THE 2015 AFL CANBERRA SEASON GUIDE. AVAILABLE FOR $5 AT ALL PLAYING VENUES.