RESERVOIR coach Aaron Collins says his side’s main objective is to simply be competitive in its return to the field next season.
A player shortage forced Reservoir into recess this season after taking out last year’s Division 3 premiership – its first senior flag since 1984.
In November the Mustangs were given the green light to return to the field next season, following months of hard work behind the scenes.
They will be joined in Division 3 by newcomer Laurimar, making for a nine-team competition.
With more than 40 players already registered for the 2017 season and solid numbers turning out for the first two weeks of pre-season training, Collins said excitement was building at Crispe Park.
“It’s definitely exciting now. A lot of hard work has gone into it,” Collins told NFL.org.au.
“It was a lot harder than what we thought.
“We are very lucky that we’ve got good numbers now. It’s now about building the depth.
“We’re just trying to be competitive next year then we will build on that.”
Collins is not one to shy away from a challenge.
In his previous coaching role at Jacana he guided the perennial battlers to the 2015 Division 2 grand final after a 15-year finals drought.
He signed on as Reservoir coach in August with no guarantee of what the future held for the Mustangs.
Collins said the challenge of getting a proud club back to the field appealed to him and assistant coach Nathan Brundell.
“We both love a challenge and both thought that this was something we could do,” he said.
“Nathan’s from the Northern Football League and has played a fair bit of footy there so we took the challenge on.”
Together they have signed five members from the 2015 premiership team, including skipper and 2010 competition best and fairest Ryan Docherty, Joel Goodyear and Kent and Kael Beaumont.
But despite the return of some of the club’s premiership players, Collins warned expectations should be kept low in 2017.
“We’re trying to put together a group of players who have never met each other,” he said.
“You’ve got your small groups of three or four who have come with each other, but we’re trying to get a group of blokes to gel to form a senior side.
“That’s going to be the hardest part.”
Among the key additions to the 2017 playing squad are former Rumbalara and Fitzroy Stars goal kicker Eric Edwards, Jacana’s Daniel Arnold and South Morang forward Nathan Mittica.
Edwards booted 63 goals for Stanhope in the Kyabram District Football Netball League this year. He kicked a career-best 90 majors during the 2014 season.
Meanwhile, Mittica won the NFL Division 3 reserves best and fairest this year and also topped the goal kicking chart.
As the playing squad continues to assemble, Collins said he was hopeful of creating an enjoyable environment on the training track.
“Before Christmas it’s more about having fun and just getting to know the blokes,” he said.
“We don’t want to flog them, we want it to be light-hearted and enjoyable so that we can get to know everybody.
“After Christmas we will be working on our structures and game plan. The boys are looking forward to that part of it.”
<iframe src=”//renderer.qmerce.com/interaction/58460ca447915bb734403cc4″ width=”100%” height=”404″ style=”height: 404px !important;” frameborder=”0″ scrolling=”no”></iframe>