Lalor senior men’s coach Angelo Lamanna is optimistic that his side will be playing more competitive football in 2023 as they look to bounce back from their winless Heidelberg Golf Club Division 3 campaign last year.
The Bloods finished on the bottom of the Division 3 ladder for the first time in their club history last season, losing all but three matches by 100 points or more.
But as pre-season training ramps up at Lalor Reserve, Lamanna is confident the club can find its feet again, with fewer players departing then in previous seasons emphasising his optimism.
“We struggled in terms of results obviously, but to only have three or four players leaving the club as well as having a high influx of players coming into the club, shows the character of us, the character of coaches, and the character of players,” he said.
“After such a difficult, year this tells me that we set a good culture and a great environment.”
The Bloods will be without reigning best and fairest Dylan Cawsey in 2023 after his transfer to Outer East side Yarra Junction Eagles was approved last week. Cawsey played just 11 games in his one and only season with the club but kicked nine majors and was named in his side’s best in all but one of those matches.
However, Lalor have implemented a successful recruitment push for the upcoming season, with at least 20 players submitting transfers to the club, while most of the side have also re-committed.
Some names to have to have made their way to Lalor Reserve for the 2023 campaign include Connor Fitzgerald, a 2022 Old Paradians premiership player in the VAFA, Scott Dickson, who’s made 26 senior appearances with South Morang, Moussa Ali, who returns to the club after 28 reserves matches with North Heidelberg in the last two seasons and Nathan Mittica, who won the 2016 Division 3 men’s reserves best and fairest while with South Morang.
Lamanna praised the tight knit culture of the playing group despite so many new names at the club, adding that the chemistry being built by the side will play a big role in making the Bloods a stronger outfit on field.
“I think the biggest thing for us is the fact that they’re [the playing group] really close mates and they all want to play together,” he said.
“It feels like I’ve been coaching them for five years which helps me as a coach as well as the whole side.”
The Bloods will be hoping that 2023 will be the year they break their 650+ day winning drought, having last tasted victory on May 1st, 2021.
But as he approaches his second season as coach of the club, Lamanna is positive that a strong pre-season and an ability to last longer throughout games will be enough to see the results start turning towards his side’s favour.
“We want to be better; we want to compete longer and for the duration of the game. Last year we competed, and we were good. But with the group we have this year, if we can compete for a lot longer, we’re going to start winning games,” he said.
Lalor open their 2023 account with a trip to Sir Douglas Nicholls Oval to face the Fitzroy Stars.