A fitter North Albany side will have a defensive focus ahead of the new Great Southern Football League campaign. The Kangas missed the finals in the first year under returning coach Brad Bootsma and won only two games across the 15 rounds. However, they were more competitive than their results showed and while their ability to score was better in 2022, Bootsma said his side must defend better in games this year. “We were where we were last year,” Bootsma said. “Our fitness was there, we lost some close games but one real positive was that we scored better than we have in previous years. “Now we have to defend better and find that balance. “Pre-season has been a little frustrating with all these other sports and lots of other commitments but we are no different to any other club. “Those that have showed up consistently have got the benefits and our fitness is at a higher level than last year. “That will play a hand in our football, not to get fatigued as easy and make mistakes. “We don’t want to lose our ability to score but we have to defend better and I’m talking about a team defence approach.” The Kangas will have minimal changes from last season, with creative forward Taj Williams and youngster Cooper Sandy switching to the Sharks. Key position player Jayden Bootsma will link up with his JUfather, having last played at Brookton-Pingelly, while Harry Smith returns and young talent Zac Lake has joined the club from Perth Football League club Wanneroo. Bootsma said young guns like Kiya Jellay and Lucas Ravenhill would take on bigger roles this season. “The aim is to improve again,” he said. “If you look at the top three from last year, I think we can bridge that gap but can we get right to the top, probably not. “Kids like Kiya Jellay and Lucas Ravenhill will get more exposure which will be great. “For me, I’m wanting to see who is going to be my Mitch Green and Brett Peake and who can turn a game for us.” Quality defender Regan Lloyd and tough ball winner Nick Barrow will be co-captains for the Kangas this season. Bootsma is expecting big years from young tall Drew Willcocks and midfielder Johnny Hegney and said he was working on former players Mitch Lenegan and Matt Orzel about returning. The Kangas will start the new season on Anzac Day against traditional rivals Railways. North Albany 2022 finish: Fifth Captain: Regan Lloyd and Nick Barrow Coach: Brad Bootsma Gains: Jayden Bootsma (Brookton-Pingelly), Zac Lake (Wanneroo), Harry Smith (returning). Losses: Taj Williams (Albany), Cooper Sandy (Albany). One to watch: Drew Willcocks — showed glimpses last season but with a big preseason under his belt expecting a breakout year from this developing tall. Calvin’s call: The Kangas will be a team on the up this season. Second year under Bootsma and with minimal changes, they will finish in the top four and challenge the top three sides on their day.