Bitter finish drives Dogs

March 21, 2018

Matt Shannon will again play a vital role for Strathmerton this year.

An 18-point loss to Picola in last year’s grand final was a bitter pill to swallow for Strathmerton, but the Bulldogs are raring to go in season 2018.

Strong recruitment and the loss of only a few players over the break puts the team in good stead to challenge for the flag.

Lee James and Bryden Power are the only outs for the club after they hung up the boots at the end of last season.

Tom Campbell, Zach Betson, Theo Thomas, Zach Wagner, Tom Simkin, Jordan Crestani and John Russo will line up for the Dogs this season, with coach Tim Bramich confident the new players will plug any gaps.

Bramich said making the final was a great result but going one step further was the aim for 2018.

‘‘We didn’t convert our inside 50s in the final. I reckon our recruits will be able to fix that,’’ he said.

‘‘Not a lot needs to improve. We were in the game for most of the final, so our focus needs to be playing our style for every minute and not dropping off.

‘‘We haven’t lost many players, unlike other years, so it’s all looking good.”

Bramich said the addition of Campbell and Betson and the retention of top talent like last year’s best-and-fairest winner Matt Shannon would only strengthen the side.

‘‘Tom is a 100kg centre half-forward who has played in flags with Shepp Swans and Zach has also played in premierships with the Swans,’’ Bramich said.

‘‘Plenty of new faces and not many blokes travelling means we’ve had great attendance at pre-season training.’’

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