Justin Sherman hopes a player-driven environment can help Laurimar continue its progression after a breakout season in 2018.
The Power enter their third season in Heidelberg Golf Club Division 3 as a genuine flag contender after producing an eye-catching finish to last year’s campaign.
The emerging side won seven of their final nine home and away games to reach their maiden finals series, before bowing out in the first semi with a five-point defeat to South Morang.
After jumping from two wins in 2017 to ten last year, Sherman is hopeful his side can continue its upward trajectory in his second season as senior coach.
“For us it’s just continuing to improve,” Sherman told NFNL.org.au.
“We have a few games under our belts for the younger guys now and we’ll just continue to give them more exposure to senior footy.
“We try not to think about finals at the minute as that is miles ahead, so we’ll just take it session by session.
Sherman revealed the club had put more responsibility on its senior players to lead the way this pre-season.
“This year has been more about taking a bit more onus and responsibility and putting that more on the players,” he said.
“We hope our senior players keep showing our youngsters exactly the way we want to play our footy.
“At the end of the day it’s the best environment when it’s player driven and we really wanted our leaders to step up this year and, so far, they have been fantastic.”
Laurimar has named Coaches MVP winner Mitch Thompson and Luke Wilson as joint captains this year, following the retirement of Adam Dennis.
Sherman said the decision to hand the captaincy to the duo was a “no brainer”.
“We sat down and unanimously picked these two guys,” Sherman said.
“They’re both genuine and loyal people that love the footy club and love all the people within the four walls.
“With Mitch it’s all about his actions on game day. He had a great year personally last year and he’ll continue to develop.
“What he did improve within his game last year was stepping up as a leader. It’s something Mitch is looking forward to and I’m sure he’ll do a great job.
“Luke had a great year last year up until his suspension, but we’re really excited because he’s a fantastic person and a really strong character.”
One of Laurimar’s major strengths last year was its synergy inside forward 50m, with Dallas King, Josh Williamson and Jacson Cecil all finishing among the competition’s top 10 goal kickers.
Sherman believes it is important to for his players to be versatile and suggested recruit Joel Regan would likely be added to the forward mix this year.
“Joel comes from the Murray league and he’s played a lot of senior footy so he can help be a leader and offer some development to the younger guys, so we are excited to have him,” Sherman said.
“The main message this year is about guys playing multiple positions and not being stuck to one position.
“It will come down to the coaching group informing the group about structures and the way we want to play, which hopefully transpires into the players understanding their role and going out and performing it on game day.”
Regan isn’t the only recruit making an impact over pre-season. Teenage brothers Daniel and Kyle Smith are also pushing their claim for selection in the senior team.
“The two Smith brothers I think can play a lot of senior footy for us this season and they certainly know that,” Sherman said.
“They came across from Whittlesea for that opportunity and whether they play a whole year this year or next year that will just be determined on how they go, but they are definitely boys to get excited about.
Laurimar will play Springbank and Kinglake in practice matches before hosting Reservoir at Laurimar Reserve in Round 1.
Sherman hoped taking on strong opposition in practice matches would give his side a better understanding of how it had progressed over pre-season.
“We play Springbank on the 16th and they’re a bit of a powerhouse up there in the Ballarat league, so they’ll give us a tough hit out,” he said.
“We’ll play Kinglake on the 24th up there which will be more of a dress rehearsal going into Round 1, which will give us an idea of what’s working and what isn’t.”