New Watsonia coach George Lattouf is extremely proud of the strong start his side has made to the 2019 season.
After finishing bottom of the A Plus Labour Solutions Division 2 ladder in 2018 with a 1-17 record, the Saints have made the most of their reprieve of remaining in second division and have already doubled last year’s wins tally just two rounds into the new season.
The Saints backed up their 36-point triumph over St Mary’s in Round 1 with an even more convincing 74-point win over Epping on the weekend, one which Lattouf was particularly encouraged about.
“It was a pretty big win. I’m very proud of the boys at the moment,” Lattouf told NFNL.org.au.
“We’ve had a big pre-season, where we worked a lot on our fitness and our game plan structures.
“We’ve got a very young group as well, so it was very pleasing to see the second week in a row that we are running out games, which is great.”
One thing which Lattouf has been particularly pleased about is that it’s not just one or two players who have been carrying the team, but rather it has been a team effort.
“It’s the whole playing group, everybody has played their role,” Lattouf said.
“Michael Perfetto has been really great. Hayden Mitchell is another playing really good football.
“Our co-captains Ben Sutherland and Adrian Alfonsi have been super, but I’ll be biased because the whole group’s playing well.”
This season marks Lattouf’s return to a senior coaching role, having served as an assistant and reveres coach at West Preston-Lakeside in recent years, following stints as senior coach with Thomastown and Parkside.
Lattouf said he is enjoying his time at A.K. Lines Reserve, citing a great culture at the club for making his transition so easy.
“It’s been a really enjoying challenge. I came to a footy club where there are a young group of players and good people,” Lattouf said.
“What I’m enjoying is the support around the footy club. I’ve got great assistant coaches, and I’m enjoying how the players here want to work really hard.
“The players are very committed, and it makes my job a lot easier when we’re on the same page.”
While content with the great start the club has made to the 2019 season, Lattouf acknowledged bigger challenges await.
The Saints have the next two weeks off due to Easter and then a bye, before facing a stern test in their next match-up which sees them face off against Banyule in Round 4.
Lattouf said the club’s focus will remain unhinged and their preparation won’t change.
“Training will be the same. We’ve got a lot of things to work on and improve as a young group, so nothing changes at training,” he said.
“We’ll be doing something on Saturday, definitely in the bye week. We have to keep the foot on it and continue to work on it as a group.
“Our focus is on the big game. We’re playing a team who is one of the favourites.
“That’s the challenge we like and we’re looking forward to this game.
“There’s going to be a lot of takings, and it’ll be a bit of a learning curve, but we’re going to put it up to them as much as we can.”