Top Dogs ready to go again in 2024

The Doggies are keen to top the Outer East Premier Division again in 2024. Picture: ON FILE

By Callum Ludwig

Reigning Outer East Premier Division Premiers Wandin are primed for the 2024 season and are looking to go back-to-back this year.

In 2023, the senior footballers finished second on the ladder before toppling the table-topping Narre Warren in the season decider.

The Reserves (third on the 2023 ladder) and Senior women’s footballers (second) also had a good season last year, reaching a preliminary and semi-final respectively while the U19s had a tough season, finishing last.

In the netball, the A Grade side (third) were defeated in the Grand Final, the B grade team (fifth) were knocked out in an elimination final, C Grade (second) also ended up as runners up, D Grade (third) lost by a point in a preliminary final and the 17 and Under team (fourth) lost out in a semi-final.

Senior Football Coach Nick Adam said the group are excited to be back together and ready to begin competing again on Saturdays.

“Although the senior side achieved the ultimate success last year we are very aware that our core is built around young talented footballers who are looking at improving in all areas,” he said.

“The summer has been built around challenging the group and we believe we have significant growth in us in all areas.”

The Wandin side follows a four-step ethos; preparation, competition, review and recovery in their approach to game days.

Adam said the Doggies have two exciting new signings that will excite supporters this season.

“Macauley ‘Macca’ Beckwith coming from Lilydale is a strong-bodied on-ball/forward that has fitted in seamlessly since the beginning of summer,” he said.

“Jack Manson (Coming from the Sunraysia Football League) walked in the door late in the pre-season after recently moving to Melbourne for work and is an on-baller who has already shown he has every attribute to be a significant contributor for us.”

Wandin’s premiership team is already littered with stars including club best and fairest, runner-up league-best on-fairest and Grand Final best-on-ground Cody Hirst, ex-AFL near 100-gamer Aaron Mullett, recent Norther Territory Football League Grand Final best-on-ground Joel Garner, the scoring prowess of Clinton Johnson and Jordan Jaworski and club captains Tom Hinds and Patty Bruzzese among others.

Adam identified three more players he believes will take a step up in the 2024 season.

“Todd Garner was a premiership player in 2023 who has had an incredible summer both in the gym and on the track, you will see the evolution of him as an onballer at stages in 2024 and we are excited to see what that looks like,” he said.

“Damien Furey was a mid-season recruit in 2023 that became a premiership player. Damo has now become part of our leadership group and we will see more of him on-ball this year, he provides a tough edge physically but is also a significant voice for us on the field,”

“Harry Van Duuren had a wonderful finals series on the wing for us, his cardio means he stretches the ground better than any other wing in the comp. He has put significant work into what he does ball in hand and we expect to see a spike in how damaging he is off the back of this.”

Wandin will begin the season with a customary opening round fixture against local rivals Mt Evelyn on Sunday 7 April at the Kennel.

Adam said it’s a standalone fixture each year that the club are really proud to be a part of.

“They (Mt Evelyn) have talented, mature footballers on their list, contested ball is a strength and our ability to get stoppage on our terms will be crucial to getting good outcomes,” he said.

“We are hoping for a bumper crowd and expect it to be a great contest.”