The loyal followers at ETSA are hoping it’s the year of the Bloods after some smart recruiting and a game style overhaul under new coach Cameron Redden.
A disappointing 2017 season left the Central Augusta Football Club licking their wounds, but a fresh injection of enthusiasm from past player Redden seems to be just what the doctor ordered.
With seven high level coaching appointments under his belt at various locations in the Far North region, his heart never stopped beating for the black and red.
Redden brings not only a wealth of experience to the table in 2018, but the well connected club man has also managed to secure some key player acquisitions.
Brendan Everett will make the move from West Whyalla and the dazzling Brendon Colson will shed his Bulldogs guernsey to join his brother Kyle at Centrals.
As last year’s highest goal scorer, Redden knows how important a player like Colson can be.
“I coached Brendan over at Central Whyalla so I know what he can do,” Redden said.
“His brother is equally as good and his uncle is pretty handy up forward too – although he has played in the back lines a lot. I think they will play really well together so that’s the goal.
“We’ve also got a couple of players who were injured last year or who sat out for the season.
“One is Jack Muirhead – he will be very good for us, he’s one of the better player in the competition and Ryan Morris as well who battled a bit with injury and then took a year off, he’s looking super fit."
A young side, Redden is hopeful that last year’s baptism of fire will give them the experience to build on for this season.
“As a group there are a lot of young players who have been blooded I guess, to use that term, and some of them have played 10-20 games now, probably before their time really,” Redden said.
“Their learning curb has been massive at this stage of their careers, I’m fairly hopefully that we will get a lot of improvement out of them.”
Redden will be calling on his senior players to lead the Bloods in a new style of game.
“The games I saw Centrals play, with young players there is a fair bit of panic, and perhaps the decision making side of it wasn’t where it needed to be,” he said.
“And that’s not just the younger guys, but there was a lot of back and forth football – we want to try and move the ball and switch lanes a bit by running the ball, creating space and using the space well.
“So I suppose the improvement is going to come from the younger guys and some of that is going to be enhanced by having those senior players around them.”
With a focus on fitness and building comradery around the club, confidence is high at Centrals.
But Redden knows the first step in a successful season is just winning round one.
“To make finals would be our long term goal at this stage, but like every coach says at this point – just winning round one is pretty important to us, it gives us a bit of a start and that’s what we are really focusing on,” he said.
“Last year the team had some really good halves of football and we just need to be able to play a consistent four quarter game and hopefully the results will show, and we will win more than we lose so that’s the aim.”