Kilmore coach Nathan Phillips says his club has its sights set on winning a final after a disappointing end to its 2019 Heidelberg Golf Club Division 3 season.
The Blues will enter 2020 off the back of a bittersweet campaign.
They finished third on the ladder and made the finals for the first time since joining the NFNL in 2016.
However, the Blues bowed out in the first semi final after a below-par performance against eventual grand finalist South Morang – with the cause hindered by kicking a wayward 3.14 in the 32-point defeat.
The finals appearance was the club’s first since 2002, with Kilmore the only third division club to have both its seniors and reserves finish in the top-four.
Having had a taste of finals action, the Blues are looking to go at least one better in 2020, with Phillips expecting his side to take the next step and win a final
“We need to win a final at the very least,” Phillips told NFNL.org.au.
“Last year we had a good year, but we let ourselves down in that first final against South Morang.”
Phillips acknowledged that a key area the Blues needed to improve was through the middle of the ground.
They have acquired Christopher Jackson and Michael Marrett during the off-season, with Jackson recruited from Seymour, while Marrett returns to the Blues after a stint in the Kyabram District Football League with Girgarre.
“We’ve recruited more depth in our midfield,” Phillips said.
“We lost the clearance count last year so that was one area we felt we needed to improve.
“We think we have, but time will tell.”
Phillips said he was looking forward to the continued progress of star midfielder Chris Ryall, who excelled in his first year with the club after joining from Caulfield.
The 20-year-old shared the Blues best and fairest with Leigh Irons in 2019. He also finished one-vote behind Laurimar captain Mitch Thompson in the Coaches MVP award and was equal-fourth in the competition best and fairest voting.
Kilmore has experienced a change in leadership during the off-season.
With Ben Tsakmakis announcing his retirement at end of the 2019 campaign, the Blues have opted to select co-captains for the 2020 season, with Leigh Irons and Adam Milne taking the reins.
“With Tasy (Tsakmakis) hanging up the boots, we felt it made sense to give those two the role being vice-captains of the club,” Phillips said.
With the club looking to add an under-19s team in 2020, Phillips said he was hopeful of giving some young players opportunities in the seniors throughout the season.
“We’re excited to have some of the junior boys come through and see how they go,” Phillips said.
Kilmore faces a strong test in its opening game of 2020, travelling to Laurimar Reserve to take on 2019 preliminary finalist Laurimar on April 4.