Sunbury came off a far from ideal pre-season to play in the Ballarat Football League finals last year.
Ben Jordan was a relatively late appointment as coach, making attracting newcomers extremely tough owing to recruiting prospects having already been snapped up.
This led to Sunbury being a little slow to get going in the season proper.
However, the Lions again showed their resolve to deliver a top six finish.
Jordan is not going to be satisfied though with again playing just one final.
He said for Sunbury it was all about making multiple finals appearances this year.
Jordan believes despite losing a selection of frontline players, including premier ruckman David Kovacevic, BFL representative centre half back Adam Short and leading goalkicker Ben Said, the Lions are primed to go further than last year.
He knows though that with a testing draw early they will need to hit the ground running – literally.
And Jordan believes he has the list just to do that, having putting a major emphasis on getting running types, whether they be inside or outside midfielders, defenders or onballers.
He said Sunbury had also targeted players in a young age bracket – players who largely had a taste of talent pathway programs as teenagers before getting a feel for senior football, but still with their best ahead of them.
Jordan said while this made it a little difficult to assess the Lions, he was confident that the even nature and depth of the squad had Sunbury strongly positioned.
“It’s still a work in progress, but it’s coming together well.”
Jordan said while there would not be a reliance of individuals, leadership from the likes of Andrew Duhau, Greg Hay, Grant Valles, Alik Magin and in the younger bracket Nathan Bridgland would be important.
He said there had been a sizeable turnover over the past few years, but there remained a feeling of solidarity, especially with a new wave of talented youngsters also emerging.
From the coach's mouth
Q: What do you see as a key on-field strength?
The evenness of the list. We have 30-32 players capable of being selected for seniors in round one.
Q: What is your key message as coach this year?
Build on last year's experience. We need to be a strong contested-football team, with better efficiency and effectiveness. We need to protect the football better.
Q: How have pre-season preparations gone?
We've gone well. We've had solid numbers and done some strong work.
Q: Which players are you most excited about?
We've brought together players with run and carry. It's exciting to have players on VFL and TAC Cup lists, and a strong band of youngsters who were given a taste last year.
SUNBURY FACT FILE
Coach: Ben Jordan (second year) non-playing
home and away: 5th (elimination finalist)
9 win, 7 losses
Best and fairest: David Kovacevic
Liam Berry (Rupertswood, RDFL)
Aaron Christensen (Macedon, RDFL)
*Mitch Conn *Coburg VFL listed 2018
Nathan Doyle (Rupertswood, RDFL)
**Jayden Eales *Williamstown VFL listed 2017
Jack Fenner (Koondrook-Barham, CMFL)
Jai Mitchell (Rupertswood, RDFL)
Jack Sheahan (returning after year off)
Ben Said (St Albans, WRFL)
Matthew Wright (Old Ivanhoe, VAFA)
**Sunbury home club 2017
Tom Donoghue (St Albans, WRFL)
Jesse Flannery (Diggers Rest, RDFL)
Tim Hill (East Sunbury, EDFL)
David Kovacevic (St Albans, WRFL)
Matthew Medcraft (Diggers Rest, RDFL)
Ben Said (St Albans, WRFL)
Adam Short (St Albans, WRFL)
2018 VFL LISTED PLAYERS
Lachlan Bramble (Williamstown)
Josh Guthrie (Coburg)
Mitch Conn Coburg