Fifth flag no pipedream for Kangas

Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser
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North Albany midfielder Brock Ramsay.
Camera IconNorth Albany midfielder Brock Ramsay. Credit: Laurie Benson

History beckons for North Albany as they enter the new Great Southern Football League season, as the premiers of the last four seasons chase a rare fifth title.

The Kangas secured a fourth-straight league premiership for the second time in their clubs history last year after downing Royals in an epic grand final to conclude the 2017 season.

Only the Royals side that went on a golden run from 1999-2004 have won five or more flags on the trot, and now the Kangas have the chance to write their own piece of history as they chase a fifth flag.

Despite the loss of six players who were present for the triumph at Centennial Stadium last year, Kangas coach Craig Dew believes his side are well placed to strike the ultimate success once again.

“Our expectation is to win, make no bones about the fact,” Dew said.

“The primary goal is to win a premiership.

“This is a very focused group, no question.

“People talk about going stale and lacking motivation.

“We are likely to have nine changes in round 1 from our grand final side at this stage and bringing in new players, especially kids, gives great excitement and enthusiasm.

Premiership players Corey Hitchcock (Claremont), Jesse Wynne (East Fremantle), Jack Steel (WAAFL), Tom Bigwood, Dom Knight and Kris Ericson (retired) have all left, while a knee injury will prevent Jake Becroft from playing this season.

The Kangas have regained Mitch Lenegan after he played 11 colts games for Claremont last year, while key defender Marcus Trevenen and former junior Darcy Norman will also return to the club.

Dew said despite a big list of looming omissions, he believed the Kangas’ youth would again play a big part in their tilt for five successive premierships.

“I think it balances itself pretty well,” Dew said of the changes.

“The second-tier kids have been outstanding in the pre-season — the likes of Taj Williams, Ted Batchelor and Lachy O’Shea.

“Those senior players, our core, you can build a side around, and we have good young kids to come in.

“Because we’ve been so strong they have been forced to play down in the colts and reserves but they are 100 per cent ready to go and it’s pretty exciting.”

Dew said it was unlikely 2016 Kleemann medallist Matt Smith would return to play for the Kangas and they would need to find some new avenues to goal with Wynne (47 goals) and Becroft (18) both gone from their forward half.

Crucial defender Alec Haskins is recovering from groin surgery that will leave him sidelined for at least eight weeks.

North Albany start their premiership defence next Wednesday in the highly anticipated Anzac Day clash with Railways at Tigerland.

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