Barooga Hawks coach Leigh Ramsdale has recruited a host of new players to help turn the struggling club into a force next year.By Matthew Galea
Leigh Ramsdale is not mucking around at Barooga Football Club.
Eleven players have arrived at the Hawks since Ramsdale arrived, including former Hawthorn and Geelong player Tim Hargreaves.
Hargreaves is one of five recruits to join the club from Ovens and Murray Football League outfit Yarrawonga, and will double as Ramsdale’s assistant coach.
Also joining from Yarrawonga is Will Gorman, Chris Wilson, Jack O’Callaghan and Tyler Marfitt, while Maribyrnong Park duo James Philpot and Marcus Smith also arrive with big reputations.
Gareth Oughton joins the Hawks from Billabong Crows, with Terence Jones arriving from Wahgunyah as well as Rennie duo Ben McNeil and Joel Kirk.
Ramsdale still believes there is plenty of quality among the club’s younger players, but denied the number of recruits coming into the team would hinder their development.
‘‘A lot of kids got exposure to senior footy last year which is great, but the challenge is always to get better,’’ Ramsdale said.
‘‘The whole bar needs to lift at the club.’’
The sell was not a hard one for Ramsdale, who said he knows all the new recruits personally, with the club’s quality facilities and grand ambitions for the future making the club an attractive prospect.
‘‘They’re all good, young kids and the older guys have all played at a higher standard,’’ Ramsdale said.
That certainly includes Hargreaves, who Ramsdale expects to play a big role on the park as well as off it, despite a four-year struggle with plantar fasciitis.
The former Mulwala coach is confident he will get through the season.
‘‘I’ve already started my pre-season work, which I’ve got to do at my age; you’ve just got to keep yourself conditioned,’’ Hargreaves said.
Hargreaves said he had been actively involved in the recruiting process, but said his bigger role would be ensuring the team is preparing itself and recovering well from week to week.
‘‘We’re all about improvement and getting the boys right in terms of training better and smarter,’’ Hargreaves said.
‘‘Leigh has a game plan and that will be pretty basic which we will implement from thirds to seniors and all the strength and conditioning stuff will be footy-specific.’’
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