Heading into his second year as senior coach of Goorambat, Sam Gladstone is confident his side will make major strides this year.
“I think with the group we’ve got and their age bracket, these guys are coming into their prime,” Gladstone said.
“We're looking good for this year.”
After finishing the 2019 season with a record of 3-15, the Bats are seeking a massive rise up the ladder.
And a successful off-season and pre-season are the first things on Gladstone's to-do list before the season's March 28 start date.
“Last year was a development year for us, but in saying that, we played out of our skins,” Gladstone said.
“Our preseason has looked really good so far, everyone's kept in touch.
“And we've been able to get the re-commitment of everyone as well as bring in some new faces.”
But despite being leader numero uno off the field, Gladstone continues to show his worth to the club on the field as well.
In 2019, Gladstone won back-to-back club best and fairest awards, piping good mate Ben Reaburn again, with two enjoying a healthy rivalry for the top gong in recent years.
“Ben is a fantastic player – he’s the most consistent footballer you'll get,” Gladstone said.
“We laugh about it and it's a healthy competition, I think we raise that competitive level in each other.”
In another accolade, Gladstone also finished in the top three for the league's best and fairest count.
It's these type of awards that are always a surprise, Gladstone said.
“Anyone in their minds don’t expect to win those ones, but I was pretty grateful and happy with the recognition,” he said.
While Gladstone spent more of his 2019 minutes in the midfield, a boost to their playing list could see him spend more time in his traditional defensive role.
“Hopefully with some of our numbers, I may retreat down back a bit this year,” he said.
“Though I do enjoy it in the midfield, I think it's a good role for myself.
● Sam Gladstone is nominated for the 2019/20 NE Podiatry Male Sportstar.