BFL season preview 2018 | Bolstered Sebastopol talking finals

NEW COLOURS: James Keeble is among the influx of VFL talent to have arrived at Sebastopol for a season which promises much.

NEW COLOURS: James Keeble is among the influx of VFL talent to have arrived at Sebastopol for a season which promises much.

Sebastopol to play in the Ballarat Football League finals.

This is the objective of new coach Leigh Hutchinson.

“We want to make finals.

“You can aim as a high as you like. You still have to get there, but you have to set targets.”

It comes as no surprise the Burra are setting their sights on finals.

No one has recruited more aggressively than Sebastopol and it was not about just cilmbing off the bottom of the ladder.

While that is the first step, Hutchinson has the challenge of setting up Sebastopol for the long-term.

He will be relying heavily on high profile recruits Tony Lockyer, Matt Austin, Lachie Cassidy, Nick Hausler and James Keeble to ensure the Burra gets the job done.

All five come directly from the former North Ballarat Roosters’ VFL list, with Lockyer, Austin and Keeble seasoned long-term campaigners.

Hutchinson said he could not be more impressed by the input they had already had.

“They’ve come for the right reasons. They’ve fitted in exceptionally well. They’re real club people,” said.

Hutchinson said in addition to bringing these players on board, the challenge was to improve the players around them who had served the club in the tough times.

Hutchinson said having AFL experienced Brett Goodes, Michael Powell and youngster Jack McNab ready to go after injury-impacted 2017 seasons was another upside.

Goodes and former North Ballarat Roosters-listed Powell each played only a handful of games, while McNab did not get on the park at all after breaking a leg pre-season after training with the Roosters.

McNab is set to drop into a key position, while Goodes will no longer have the same focus on him from rival players now that there is a wider spread of top-end talent at Marty Busch Reserve.

James Richards is another experienced on the way back from a long-term injury.

Sebastopol was originally to have opened their season in a stand alone marquee game against North Ballarat City under lights on Saturday, April 14.

However, this has round one fixture has been rescheduled to April 21 to be played alongside all other BFL first round games.

From the coach's mouth

Q: What do you see as a key on-field strength?

Our leadership is a big thing, along with overall team balance.

Q: What is your key message as coach this year?  

Team defence. That's where we're starting. Defend and then turn it into attack.

Q: How have pre-season preparations gone?

I've been really happy. There's been good numbers, although we're struggling for under-18.5s. There's a really feeling about the place. It's exciting.

Q: Which players are you most excited about?

We're naturally excited with our recruits. To get five ex-North Ballarat Roosters and seeing how they fit in has been great.

SEBASTOPOL FACT FILE

Coach: Leigh Hutchinson (first year) non-playing

2017 SEASON

Home and away:  11th

1 win, 15 losses

Best and fairest: Chase Dummett

KEY ARRIVALS 

**Matt Austin *North Ballarat VFL listed 2017

Lachie Cassidy (Ballarat) *North Ballarat VFL listed 2017

Todd Currie (Carngham-Linton, CHFL)

Nick Hausler (Redan) *North Ballarat VFL listed 2017

James Keeble (Boort, NCFL) *North Ballarat VFL listed 2017

**Tony Lockyer *North Ballarat VFL listed 2017

Jack Onley (Anglesea, BFL)

Jake Wilkinson (Ballan, CHFL)

**Sebastopol home club 2017 

KEY DEPARTURES

Harli Givvens (Buninyong, CHFL)

William Hoye (Learmonth, CHFL)

Lochie Huppatz (Geelong West, GFL) *North Ballarat VFL listed 2017

Luke Kiel (Bell Park, GFL) *North Ballarat VFL listed 2017/Geelong VFL listed 2018

Ben McLeod (Mt Waverley, SFL)

Tyler Mookhoek (Rokewood-Corindhap, CHFL)

Oliver Tate (Euroa, GVFL) *North Ballarat VFL listed 2017/Williamstown VFL listed 2018

2018 FIXTURE

SATURDAY, APRIL 14: North Ballarat City (h) night

SATURDAY, APRIL 28: East Point (a)

SUNDAY, MAY 6: Ballarat (h) 

SATURDAY, MAY 12: bye

SATURDAY, MAY 26: Lake Wendouree (a) 

SATURDAY, JUNE 2: Darley (h)

SATURDAY, JUNE 9: Sunbury (a)

SATURDAY, JUNE 16: Melton South (h)

SATURDAY, JUNE 23: Redan (a)

SATURDAY, JUNE 30: Melton (h)

SATURDAY, JULY 7: Bacchus Marsh (a)

SATURDAY, JULY 14: bye

SATURDAY, JULY 21: Ballarat (a)

SATURDAY, JULY 28: Redan (h)

SATURDAY, AUGUST 4: Melton (a)

SATURDAY, AUGUST 11: East Point (h)

SATURDAY, AUGUST 18: Bacchus Marsh (h)

SATURDAY, AUGUST 25: Melton South (a)

*Play once: Melton (9th), Lake Wendouree (1st), North Ballarat City (6th), Sunbury (5th)