Things are looking up at Ironbark Stadium.
Rushworth has added a large swathe of recruits to its squad and retained the vast majority of last year’s group, making coach Brett Pateman optimistic for the season ahead.
“I think we’ve picked up about 12 to 15 players,” Pateman said.
“A couple of them are returning players and a few are from Darwin who are down in Melbourne at uni.
“We’re definitely looking to keep building and become a more competitive and well-rounded side.”
The Tigers finished last year strongly with two wins and a pair of close defeats, but before that lost to top-four teams Tallygaroopna and Avenel by a combined 428 points.
It is those sort of performances which Pateman hopes will now be a thing of the past at Rushworth.
“In the back end of last year, we got the side where it needed to be and we expect to be competitive against every side this season,” he said.
“What people outside the club might not understand is that we’ve always had a lot of farmers and shift workers who aren’t available every weekend, so sometimes we would have 10 changes just due to unavailability.
“This year we’ve really focused on adding plenty of players to the squad to help with that.”
Among the inclusions is Josh O’Brien – who has experience with the Northern Blues – and familiar faces Shayne Lynch and Jak McMillan.
Most of all the Tigers will be looking to create excitement around the community through their efforts.
“In the past with the big blowouts we have had, the social side of the club has still been great, so it’s only going to get better and more enjoyable to be here as we (get rid of those),” Pateman said.
“I’m looking forward to developing a couple of young players and to see what the playing group can do this year.
“It’s exciting times but we’re not putting too much hype on it at the moment.”
COACH: BRETT PATEMAN
2019 FINISH: 12TH (4-1-11)
2019 BEST-AND-FAIREST: TAULUA VAVE
2019 LEADING GOAL-KICKER: ISAIAH JOHNSON (47)
GROUND: IRONBARK STADIUM
IN: Josh O’Brien, Will Baird, Jalen Clarke, Lachie McKenzie, Will Tollner (Northern Territory Football League), Jackson Doyle (St Kevin’s Old Boys), Jak McMillan (Mooroopna), Shayne Lynch (Waaia), Matt Bricknell
OUT: Jordan Hageman (Lancaster)