2017 Division 3 Season Preview

Compiled by Andrew Paloczi





Coach: Mick Rossborough

2016 Finish: 2nd

Key Signings: Gavin Mahony (De La Salle Old Collegians), David Reilly (Emerald), Cameron Riley (Dandenong), Shane Peake (Endeavour Hills), Justin Mackenzie (Whitehorse Pioneers), Daniel O’Connell-Webb (Lyndhurst), Ethan O’Connell-Webb (Lyndhurst), Kane O’Connell-Webb (Doveton, SEFNL), Ryan Forsyth (Springvale Districts)

Departures: No major departures

Ashwood had an excellent 2016 season, finishing runner-up to the standout side, Mount Waverley.

Mick Rossborough is still in charge as Magpies’ coach and has worked hard on stoppages over the pre-season, having identified that as an area requiring improvement.

The club has recruited extensively, bringing back some players who have worn the Ashwood jumper previously.

Gavin Mahony is one such player, bringing his leadership skills gained as a playing coach at St Kilda City, although he most recently played in the VAFA with De La Salle.

Mahony doesn’t have an official coaching post with the Magpies, but expect him to be a leader, playing both onball and across halfback.

Onballer David Reilly is the son of former Ashwood player and coach Paul and arrives from Emerald Football Club.

A prominent recruit is Shane Peake who has crossed from Division 3 rival Endeavour Hills. He booted 41 goals last season.

Former EFL player Justin Mackenzie is described by Rossborough as an athletic centre halfback.

Matthew Menzies steps back into ruck duties after missing last season due to work commitments.

Expect fierce competition for places in the Ashwood side, with very few departures since last season.

Rossborough notes the club has signed a new sponsor for three years, so the Magpies are looking strong both on and off the field.

Ashwood has recruited strongly with no departures of note, ensuring it is a definite premiership contender.

2017 Predicted Finish: 2nd

[caption id="attachment_14500" align="aligncenter" width="258"]Ashwood co-captain Dale Carroll Ashwood co-captain Dale Carroll[/caption]


Black Rock

Coach: Brent Ward

2016 Finish: 11th (Division 2)

Key Signings: Michael Ballard (Bentleigh), Ben Zylbersztajn (Bentleigh), Thomas Shone (Tyabb JFC), Lucas Blatman (Ormond)

Departures: Jay Williams (retired), Luke Glacken (Beenleigh, QLD), Ryan Kettle (Ormond)

Black Rock returns to Division 3 after a disappointing Division 2 season in which it managed a solitary win.

It was a surprising outcome, after the club stormed to the premiership as the standout team in 2015 and appeared likely to acquit itself well at the next level.

Black Rock’s games record holder, Brent Ward, will coach the Jets.

Ward has brought in former Rockers teammate Dean Gleeson as his assistant coach.

Gleeson contributes not just footy knowledge, but his fitness expertise as a
long-term gym owner and personal trainer.

The playing list has remained fairly stable since last season, but there have been a few additions and some departures.

Ben Zylbersztajn returns to Black Rock where he last played in 2012. In that season he played 15 senior games for the club in Division 2.

He has since played Division 1 Reserves footy for Bentleigh and East Brighton.

Michael Ballard is another recruit from Bentleigh and Gleeson expects him to play in the midfield, as he does Zylbersztajn.

Gleeson describes youngster Thomas Shone as “an up-and-comer”. He is a likely forward who may see some senior action this season.

Some senior players have retired.

Unfortunately these include captain Jay Williams who recently suffered an ACL injury in a practice match.

“This is devastating for our team and for Jay,” said senior coach Ward.

Luke Glacken and Ryan Kettle are highly regarded at the club and will be missed after transferring to other competitions.

It is tough to gauge where the Jets are likely to finish this season, given their absence from this division in 2016.

Finals are a must. Whilst not ruling the side out of premiership contention, increased competition in Division 3 means it is likely to be a tougher assignment than it was a couple of years ago.

2017 Predicted Finish: 4th

[caption id="attachment_14501" align="aligncenter" width="252"]Jets star Tom Dalton Jets star Tom Dalton[/caption]



Coach: Terry Philippe

2016 Finish: 10th

Key Signings: Alex Bollen (Scoresby), Tyler Neal (NFNL), Anthony Caruso (Jacana), Rhys Graham (Chelsea), Daniel Bell (Scoresby), Matt Ryan

Departures: No major departures

Former Collingwood player Terry Philippe takes on the substantial challenge of moulding CPL into a competitive unit.

It is his first coaching gig since being in charge of Dimboola in 1996.

He may need to draw on what he learned playing under the great Tom Hafey as he seeks to improve on the Lions’ tenth-placed finish in 2016.

Philippe jokes that he is expecting CPL to win 18 games this season, before conceding he is hoping for at least six to eight wins.

“I would suggest that we’re going to be very competitive, and our main focus is to not have blowouts,” he said.

He is focussing on the club earning back the respect of rivals, eradicating the perception the Lions are easybeats.

The coach has concentrated on basics over the pre-season and worked to restore the confidence of players.

CPL has bolstered its playing stocks, bringing in several promising recruits.

Alex Bollen, son of club president Mark, has returned after a stint at Scoresby.

He offers the flexibility of being able to play in a key position or in the midfield.

Tyler Neal is a classy midfielder or half forward flanker.

At just 19 years of age, Neal has impressed his coach during the pre-season.

He regularly featured in the best players for Frankston Bombers Under 19s.

Anthony Caruso is described by Philippe as a “nuggety forward pocket, goal kicking type player”.

Daniel Bell and Matt Ryan are another couple of arrivals who have caught Philippe’s eye.

“They’ve been standouts in our practice matches.”

Ryan hasn’t played for a couple of years and was a junior player with CPL before that.

Paul Mauracher will captain the Lions and the vice captain is Aaron Guy. Ben Guy and Alex Hollingsworth are deputy vice captains.

Realistically, CPL should do better than last year, but 2017 shapes as a chance to put down foundations for substantial improvements in the future.

2017 Predicted Finish: 9th

[caption id="attachment_14502" align="aligncenter" width="259"]CPL captain Paul Mauracher CPL captain Paul Mauracher[/caption]



Coach: Nathan Boyd

2016 Finish: 11th

Key Signings: Jayke Hopkins (Catani), David Vassallo (Moorabbin), Andrew Sloss (Moorabbin), Josh Cole (Officer), Trent Cole (Tooradin-Dalmore),
Matt Faria (Macedon), Brendan Faria (Macedon)

Departures: Dale Jose (Doveton Eagles), Jarrod Lapthorne (Chadstone), Chris Arnold (Lyndhurst), Paul Gould (Ocean Ridge, WA), Cameron Riley (Ashwood)

Nathan Boyd is Dandenong’s new senior coach and will need his experience at Corio as he attempts to resurrect the Redlegs.

Dandenong finished second last in 2016, a similar situation to that which Boyd took on at Corio.

When he started there, the club had won a total of two games over the previous couple of seasons and had huge average losing margins.

In his season at the club, it won four games and had a number of other competitive showings.

To achieve such progress at Dandenong, Boyd has focussed on skill work, and discipline around structures and game plans in the pre-season.

The club website mentions Boyd will create a “high-performance culture”. It’s fair to say that will take time and hard work, but the new coach is enthusiastic about the challenge.

“I like building and I like to see a list progress, and I think Dandenong’s a perfect place for that,” he said.

He is confident the club has some talented youngsters and other players who have ability, but haven’t yet played a lot of footy.

The Redlegs were active in their recruiting, as they needed to be.

Jayke Hopkins joins the club from Catani. He has the versatility to play in a number of positions including onball, on the wing, half forward, and as a rebounding defender.

A couple of past Dandenong players, Josh and Trent Cole, return to the Redlegs. Boyd describes them as “out-and-out ball-winning midfielders”.

Inside midfielder Andrew Sloss and backman David Vassallo have transferred from Moorabbin.

The Faria brothers from Melton bring pace and forward pressure.

Dandenong lost some players it was keen to hang onto. These included Dale Jose who has headed to rival Doveton Eagles, and Paul Gould who has moved interstate.

Regan Hall and Trent Cole are co-captains.

Boyd believes the club’s new committee and sponsors will help ensure its viability.

Despite what appears to be an overall gain during the recruiting period, it is difficult to see the Redlegs’ wins tally improving too much this season.

Depth is still likely to be an issue, and the side may need good luck with injuries to climb the ladder.

Five wins and increased competitiveness would be a good result, after the side managed just three victories last year.

2017 Predicted Finish: 11th

[caption id="attachment_14503" align="aligncenter" width="259"]Dandenong co-captain Trent Cole Dandenong co-captain Trent Cole[/caption]


Doveton Eagles

Coach: Simon Caldwell

2016 Finish: 3rd

Key Signings: Russell Robertson, Xavier Pauli (St Kilda City), Omar Babak (Lyndale), Dale Jose (Dandenong), Michael Callinan (Pyramid Hill), David Lever (Yarra Junction)

Departures: Ricky Johnson (Doveton, SEFNL), Peter Dye (Doveton, SEFNL), Josh Bevis (Whitehorse Pioneers)

Ex-AFL high-flyer Russell Robertson has agreed to a minimum of six games with Doveton Eagles this season plus finals.

However, new coach Simon Caldwell hopes his high-profile recruit may play 10 home and away games, dependent on commitments with Melbourne Football Club.

Caldwell takes over from Corrie Wilson, who has handed over coaching responsibilities, but will continue as a player.

As Doveton’s captain, Wilson will still offer plenty in terms of leadership.

His vice captains are Matt Fristad and Steven Ognjenovic, whilst Jarrod O’Neill and Travis Graeske are deputy vice captains.

Despite its impressive season in 2016, Doveton Eagles was restricted at times by injuries to its key forwards, particularly Peter Dye.

St Kilda City full forward Xavier Pauli has crossed to the Eagles. Along with Robertson, this should significantly boost the side’s firepower.

Key backman Dale Jose arrives from Dandenong and will strengthen the Eagles’ defence.

Enhancing the club’s midfield will be Michael Callinan from Pyramid Hill.

There have been few departures, but zippy youngster Ricky Johnson will be missed. He has headed to the SEFNL, as has Peter Dye.

A couple of ruckmen have retired.

Overall it will be a stronger outfit than last season and Caldwell expects his side to get at least as far as it did last year, when it played in the preliminary final.

The Eagles will be in the mix again for a grand final spot, but there will be a few other genuine contenders.

2017 Predicted Finish: 3rd

[caption id="attachment_14504" align="aligncenter" width="260"]Eagles vice captain Matt Fristad Eagles vice captain Matt Fristad[/caption]


Endeavour Hills

Coach: Rob Dipper

2016 Finish: 6th

Key Signings: Daniel Batson (DWWWW), Styron Augustus (Noble Park), Daniel Soar (Doveton, SEFNL), Anthony Cvek (Glen Eira)

Departures: Shane Peake (Ashwood)

Rob Dipper assumes the senior coaching mantle, having overseen Endeavour Hills’ Under 19s last season.

He expects a couple of the youngsters he coached then to step up and play some senior footy this year, but wasn’t keen to divulge names.

The coach is focussing on keeping the Falcons under the radar.

“I’m reading a lot of stuff from the forum that apparently Endeavour Hills are going to be pretty shabby this year and not much chop, so I’m happy to stay under wraps and give everyone nothing.”

But he was prepared to chat about some of the additions to the Falcons’ nest.

Endeavour Hills has picked up seven or eight recruits.

Dipper believes injuries cost the Falcons toward the end of last season, and considers he has improved the depth of the list.

Former Sandringham VFL reserves player Daniel Batson has returned to Endeavour Hills after a stint in the Alberton Football Netball League.

He most recently played for the Falcons in 2014.

Strong centre halfback Anthony Cvek can play through midfield and has featured in premiership sides at Glen Iris.

New arrival Styron Augustus comes from Noble Park. His name sounds fit for a Roman emperor, but it is his ability to use the ball effectively in the centre that appealed to the Falcons.

Tall centre halfback, and possible sometime ruckman, Daniel Soar arrives from Doveton Doves.

Jarrod Marolla returns from an ankle injury and broken leg sustained in last year’s pre-season. He is part of the Falcons’ leadership group.

Nathan Strom takes on the captaincy. He was hampered by injury in 2016, but is a best and fairest winner at Endeavour Hills.

Current club best and fairest Byron Hoe is vice captain.

Others in the leadership group are Michael Patrick and Jayson Bruce.

Dipper outlined his philosophy concerning leadership.

“It’s not just on-ground, we’re looking for leadership around the club as well,” he said.

He also made it clear that players will not get a game without earning it this season.

As far as departures go, Shane Peake is perhaps the best known.

He booted 41 goals last season and has shifted to Ashwood for 2017.

Dipper is confident his recruits will comfortably cover this loss.

Endeavour Hills finished just a spot outside the finals in 2016, a game and percentage behind fifth-placed Hallam and fourth-placed South Yarra.

The Falcons will show improvement this season. The challenge will be ensuring this improvement outstrips that of the teams ahead of them last year.

A finals spot is certainly within reach.

2017 Predicted Finish: 5th

[caption id="attachment_14493" align="aligncenter" width="258"]Falcons skipper Nathan Strom Falcons skipper Nathan Strom[/caption]



Coach: Scott Slater

2016 Finish: 4th

Key Signings: Justin Marriott & Ryan Marriott (DWWWW), Rob Mackay (Oakleigh District), Tyson Hoy (Doveton, SEFNL), Ashleigh Allen (Hampton Park)

Departures: Jayden O’Brien (Emerald), Joel Sarlo (Dingley), Jayden Bubb (Narre Warren)

Entering his second season as Hallam coach, Scott Slater has his sights set on a top-three place and the double chance come finals time.

The Hawks soared from 10th in 2015 to fourth last season.

Hallam gained valuable experience, edging out South Yarra in an elimination final, before losing to Doveton Eagles.

Slater has been active in improving his list in order to maximise the Hawks’ chances of success.

He believes onballer Justin Marriott is his biggest signing. Marriott has played in premierships at Narre Warren and has spent the past couple of seasons in the Alberton Football Netball League as an assistant coach.

“He could probably walk into a Div 1 side in our competition,” Slater said.

Justin’s brother Ryan has accompanied him on his journey to the Hawks.

He is a big-bodied key position player able to play at centre halfback or full back.

Centre half forward, Rob Mackay arrives with over 150 games of senior experience at Oakleigh District.

Tyson Hoy is just 19 years old but has already tasted senior football at Doveton Doves and can play in the ruck or onball.

The Hawks haven’t lost many players, but Slater discussed a couple the club was unable to hang onto.

Up-and-coming youngster Jayden O’Brien has headed to Emerald.

Another promising young player, Joel Sarlo has gone to Division 1 reigning premier, Dingley and will be missed by Slater.

“He kicked ten in a game last year as a 17-year-old. He was a really dynamic small forward.”

The coach has no intention of holding back players with the ability and aspiration to take their footy to a higher level.

Overall though, the Hawks’ focus on under 19s footy is paying dividends.

Many of those players played senior footy last year, and a number of them have encouraged mates to join the club.

Whereas Slater’s first pre-season with the Hawks involved a strong emphasis on improving skills, there has been a greater opportunity to focus on structures and fitness this time.

Star player Manny Peresso is in charge of the Hallam Senior Secondary College football academy, and this has been advantageous in building the Hawks’ fitness.

They are able to benefit from a full gym and an indoor sports centre, as well as two ovals.

The club also has a strength and conditioning coach. This has been evident during the side’s Seymour Law Cup appearances, with players looking fit and strong.

The Hawks elected to treat this pre-season competition seriously.

“We weren’t going to go in with the attitude of let’s just roll a number of blokes through and give them a game of footy,” Slater said.

The approach earned Hallam the chance to test itself against Division 1
runner-up Bentleigh in the Grand Final of that competition.

The Hawks held on for a tense two-point win over the Demons.

Hallam moved the ball impressively through the midfield, showing plenty of leg speed.

Its pressure and tackling efforts were excellent.

Slater believes the Seymour Law Cup presented an opportunity to assess any deficiencies that needed to be ironed out.

Perhaps the Hawks’ delivery into the forward line is one such issue.

The Hawks’ leadership group consists of Peresso, Stephen Chin, Phil Ward and Justin Marriott. The captain is yet to be confirmed.

Expect an excellent season from Hallam.

The club has the depth, skill and fitness to give it a real chance to hold aloft the premiership cup come September.

2017 Predicted Finish: Premier

[caption id="attachment_14494" align="aligncenter" width="248"]Hallam co-captain Stephen Chin Hallam co-captain Stephen Chin[/caption]



Coach: Brad Bruni

2016 Finish: 7th

Key Signings: Liam Toole & Jordan Toole (Cora Lynn), Brodie O’Loughlin (Heatherton), Kahill Saliba (Heatherton)

Departures: Omar Babak (Doveton Eagles), Danny Wilson (Springvale Districts), Steven Comino (Springvale Districts), Alex Kerr (Kilcunda Bass), Ben Laier (Springvale Districts), Clain Whitlock (Albert Park)

Brad Bruni continues as Lyndale’s coach and is hopeful the Pumas can play a part in this year’s finals.

The side missed out by a couple of wins and percentage in 2016.

Bruni highlighted some recruits he believes can help his side progress.

Brothers Liam and Jordan Toole bring premiership experience from Cora Lynn.

As well as his ability to play in a range of positions, Liam will be an assistant coach for the Pumas.

Jordan offers plenty of run and will be handy through the midfield and at half forward.

Bruni expects a couple of mature-aged recruits, Brodie O’Loughlin and Kahill Saliba to bring valuable experience to the club.

The coach believes these two will help maintain structure between halfback and through the midfield.

Lyndale loses Omar Babak, a capable goal kicker who has joined Doveton Eagles, and ruckman Danny Wilson who has returned to Springvale Districts.

Several other senior players have also departed.

But overall Bruni is confident in having a more competitive side this season.

“Depth was probably our biggest problem last year, whereas I think coming into round 1 there’s probably 30 blokes that are a chance to get picked.”

Lyndale is likely to remain in the race for finals throughout the season, and is a good chance to make it.

However, there are a few more strong sides than there are finals spots available.

2017 Predicted Finish: 6th

[caption id="attachment_14495" align="aligncenter" width="257"]Lyndale jet Taylor Rainey Lyndale jet Taylor Rainey[/caption]



Coach: Patrick (Paddy) Cooke

2016 Finish: 8th

Key Signings: Shaun Witherden (Keysborough), Chris Smith (Pines)

Departures: Brad Ferri (work commitments), Daniel O’Connell-Webb (Ashwood), Ethan O’Connell-Webb (Ashwood)

Lyndhurst enters its second season of senior competition with playing coach, Paddy Cooke continuing.

He outlined his expectations for 2017.

“This year’s just consolidating on what we did last year, and then trying to build our young guys into smarter footballers. Ideally we’d love to play finals, but that’s not an expectation,” he said.

The coach has emphasised to his players the need to continue to work in order to ensure improvement.

This is important, given Lightning exceeded expectations in their first season, and must guard against complacency.

Cooke has used the Seymour Law Cup as an opportunity to “look at guys we hadn’t seen a lot of, or that we were hoping would step up a bit this year”.

The coach has bolstered his side, recruiting Shaun Witherden from Division 2 side Keysborough.

“He’s a big, strong ruckman with a bit more experience and a lot of football knowledge to bring to our really young group,” Cooke said.

Another mature arrival Chris Smith comes from the Pines.

He was a senior assistant coach and reserves coach there, and will be an assistant coach for Lightning.

As well as leadership skills, Smith is a strong midfielder who Cooke believes will provide significant help in winning clearances.

Lyndhurst may be suited to its own reality show with last year’s co-captains both becoming engaged.

One of these, Brad Ferri has stepped away from the sport due to work commitments.

The other, Jake Ward is staying on as a member of the leadership group, but will likely relinquish the captaincy as work responsibilities restrict his ability to attend training.

Others in the leadership group are Witherden, Jeremy Jakupi, Luke Maxfield, Zac Davis, James Gardiner, Drew Connick, and Adam Horton.

Cooke concedes Ferri’s influence around the club will be missed, but he seems to have recruited strongly enough to cover this loss.

Expect Lyndhurst to be competitive all season and to win more games than last year.

It wouldn’t be a major surprise if the side makes the finals, but given the fierce competition, it may have to wait one more season.

2017 Predicted Finish: 7th

[caption id="attachment_14496" align="aligncenter" width="254"]Lightning young gun Zac Davis Lightning young gun Zac Davis[/caption]


Moorabbin Kangaroos

Coach: David Velt

2016 Finish: 9th

Key Signings: Justin Berry (St Pauls), Dane Maizey (Sandown), Michael Perry (Sandown), Justin Isaac (Hampton), Damian Armansin (Hampton)

Departures: Jack Williams (Hastings), Nick Stanlan-Velt (Coffs Harbour, NSW), David Vassallo (Dandenong), Andrew Sloss (Dandenong), Simon Sloss (Cheltenham), Christopher Baum (Dingley)

After progressing to the Division 3 preliminary final in 2015, Moorabbin experienced a rapid drop to ninth place last season.

Senior coach David Velt enters his second year at the helm for the Kangaroos.

He was unavailable for comment on his expectations for the 2017 season.

Former Frankston VFL goal kicker Justin Berry has recently requested a transfer from St Pauls to Moorabbin.

He booted 19 majors from his 16 senior Division 1 appearances last season.

Berry would be a valuable contributor in Division 3 and the Kangaroos need him to offset the departure of Jack Williams.

Williams booted 50 goals in what was mostly a bleak season for Moorabbin. He has shifted to the Nepean Football Netball League.

It was suggested on SFNL radio program 5th Quarter on 2nd April that a couple of players from Hampton will join the Kangaroos.

One is Justin Isaac, who would provide excellent skills and endurance.

He has been a valuable contributor at several clubs and in recent years has been a forward at Hampton.

The other is Damian Armansin, a small and quick defensive midfielder.

If these transfers are confirmed it will be a significant boost to the club.

Dane Maizey was a senior player at Sandown last year, managing 16 games and featuring in the best players a couple of times.

Michael Perry played nine senior games for Sandown last season, as well as coaching the side after the departure of Rick Bean.

His one victory in charge of the Cobras came against Moorabbin at Widdop Crescent.

He should provide some valuable onfield leadership for the Kangaroos.

Backman David Vassallo played 18 senior games for Moorabbin last season, but has ventured to Dandenong.

The prospects of Moorabbin improving on last season’s lowly position may depend on whether or not key recruits Isaac, Berry and Armansin are granted transfers.

2017 Predicted Finish: 10th

[caption id="attachment_14497" align="aligncenter" width="261"]Kangas captain Shaun Jackson Kangas captain Shaun Jackson[/caption]



Coach: Ange Sammartino

2016 Finish: 12th

Key Signings: Shane Scalodera (Kananook Bulls), Beau McLean (Gembrook Cockatoo), James Morrish (Cranbourne)

Departures: Andrew Ritchie (St Pauls), Jake D’Atri (Keysborough), Michael Halim (Springvale Districts), Dane Maizey (Moorabbin), Jordan Waite (Pines)

Sandown is under the leadership of new coach Ange Sammartino who was previously at North Brunswick.

He has a two-year contract and is realistic in his expectations.

“It’s a case of let’s use the first year to lay some foundations and stabilise, whilst taking some steps forward, and then hopefully build on it next year.”

He indicated the club has already had some bad luck, losing a ruck recruit to a back injury at work.

Last season’s captain, Jake D’Atri has stepped up a division, moving to Keysborough, and will be missed.

He has been at Sandown for a number of years and featured regularly in the Cobras’ best players last season.

Michael Halim has headed to Springvale Districts where he broke straight into the Division 2 club’s senior side.

The Cobras are aiming to be sufficiently competitive this year to make the club a more appealing prospect for potential recruits in 2018.

However, there have been a few handy pickups this season.

Shane Scandolera from Kananook Bulls was tried on a wing in an intra-club match and impressed. Sammartino may play him as an onballer.

The coach sees another recruit, Beau McLean, as “a handy onballer type”.

Previous Sandown player James Morrish recently returned to the club and Sammartino envisages him playing an important role in the forward line.

Matt Dickson will captain the Cobras, with Dale Fitzgerald as his vice captain. Deputy vice captains are Aaron Woods and Matt Bennie.

Four to six wins and avoiding the kind of heavy defeats suffered last season would be a good outcome according to Sammartino.

The Cobras managed just one victory in 2016, so realistically anything more than that is an improvement.

Expect to see Sandown remain near the foot of the ladder, but hopefully Sammartino can put down sturdy foundations for the future.

2017 Predicted Finish: 12th

[caption id="attachment_14498" align="aligncenter" width="263"]Sandown skipper Matt Dickson Sandown skipper Matt Dickson[/caption]


South Yarra

Coach: Darren Steghuis

2016 Finish: 5th

Key Signings: Dan Russell (Barooga), Brandon Bird (Surrey Park), Jarrod Gloury (Lalor), Brodie Howe (Nar Nar Goon)

Departures: Jordan Cellini (Pascoe Vale)

After the disappointment of losing an elimination final by three points, South Yarra’s players have challenged themselves to go further in 2017.

Darren (Daisy) Steghuis continues as coach.

He believes he has added a couple of key defenders, more midfield depth and a few forwards.

Dan Russell is a key addition, expected to play at centre halfback.

He is athletic, and also able to play forward, and has played for South Yarra previously.

As far as midfielders go, Steghuis believes he has picked up a few good country footballers, without recruiting big names.

He didn’t give much away when it comes to forward line recruits, just mentioning South Yarra has found a couple of good ones.

EFL recruit Brandon Bird was praised for his “silky skills” on the club’s Facebook page.

Jarrod Gloury returns to the Lions, having played every senior match for them in 2014.

He is likely to play as a rebounding defender.

Steghuis admits 2016 club best and fairest Jordy Cellini is a big loss, but wishes him all the best.

The coach remains upbeat despite the loss of one of his stars.

“But look, we’ve recruited well. Hopefully we can cover his loss.”

He considers the standard in Division 3 is improving and is striving to ensure his own side continues to do so.

The Lions are in with a good shot of making the finals again, and are likely to be tough to beat on their unique sloping ground.

It is difficult to separate them from a bunch of teams likely to be competing for the fifth rung on the ladder.

2017 Predicted Finish: 8th

[caption id="attachment_14499" align="aligncenter" width="267"]Yarras captain Mark Symons Yarras captain Mark Symons[/caption]

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