New Laurimar coach Justin Sherman is confident his playing group is on track to be more competitive in its second season in Heidelberg Golf Club Division 3.
Laurimar entered the NFNL senior competition last year and managed to avoid the wooden spoon, finishing eighth on the ladder with a 2-14 record.
The Power made good progress throughout their debut season and managed to finish within six goals of premier Banyule in Round 17.
Sherman, who played 138 AFL games for Brisbane and Western Bulldogs from 2005 to 2012, has taken over the coaching reins from inaugural coach Wayne Sharkie.
The 31-year-old is no stranger to the NFNL, having spent the past two years as a playing-assistant at Whittlesea, where he was named in the Division 1 Team of the Year in both seasons.
But despite his outstanding form during his time with the Eagles, Sherman reiterated to NFNL.org.au that he will not be a playing-coach this year.
“No not at all, the boots are officially hanged up and I’ll stay true of my word,” Sherman said.
“I said to Whittlesea that I wouldn’t play and it’s not that I have no temptations. I just want to form a career in coaching now and that’s where I want to go.
“I’m really enjoying it so far at Laurimar and enjoying coaching the good group of boys and enjoying everyone at the football club.
“It has been a great change and I’m really looking forward to pushing this club further in the future.”
Sherman said improving the stamina of his playing group was one of his main objectives in his first pre-season at the helm.
“I guess our main focus over the summer was to improve our fitness and make sure our players will be willing to last four quarters without cramping up and running out of legs,” he said.
“We couldn’t focus so much on our fitness last year as the club’s main goal was to just to field a senior and reserves side.
“Now that the bond with all our players is strong, we feel like our fitness is the main focus so we can run out four quarters once the season starts.”
New recruit and key forward Josh Williamson has been a standout on the track since crossing the Tasman.
Williamson booted 66 goals for Hobart City in the Tasmanian Football league over the past two season and Sherman is excited by what he has seen from the 21 year old.
“Josh has been fantastic so far,” Sherman said.
“He’s a real leader and we are so lucky to have a player of his calibre.
“Being a Tasmanian myself and getting Josh across is very exciting for us and he is going to add some real depth to our squad as he can play different positions.
“He is a really talented player and we are so lucky to have him.”
Sherman has also been impressed by the pre-season campaign of Power vice-captain Elliot Pyke.
The 23-year-old was restricted to just six games during the club’s debut season last year, but was named among the best players four times.
Sherman believes Pyke is on track to have a big impact in 2018.
“Elliot is definitely a great leader and someone I am really looking forward to see play this year,” he said.
“He is very good with ball in hand and put that together with his leadership around the ground and we have a very handy player in our side.”
Sherman’s first game in charge of Laurimar will take place tonight, when the Power host Eltham Collegians in a practice match from 6:15pm.