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
Home and away: 11th
1 win, 15 losses
Best and fairest: Chase Dummett
**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
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