COACH Ben Parkinson believes Dennington is “far from the premiership favourite”, despite a productive off-season recruiting campaign.
The Warrnambool and District league club has added seven players to the list which rose from fourth to make the 2013 grand final.
Warrnambool premiership captain Dustin McCorkell and South Warrnambool premiership defender Trent Harman are the headline inclusions.
But Harman must clear a debt with his former club before he can play with Dennington.
Tully Allwood (South Warrnambool), Ryan Mc-Elgunn (North Warrnambool Eagles) and Kurt Smith (Russells Creek) have also joined the Dogs.
Two players from the Hampden league under 18½ ranks — Koroit’s Jackson Chatfield and Warrnambool’s Rainey Lebler — complete the list of inclusions.
Shane Graham and Luke Duncan are also posed to return after serious injuries in the first weeks of season 2013 ended their campaigns.
The only omissions are Leigh Niklaus (Queensland), Brad Distel (Queensland), Tyler Keane (Western Australia) and Nathan Krepp (South Rovers).
The player influx hints Dennington will be a stronger side than the one which lost the 2013 grand final to Panmure.
But Parkinson, who after helping out at Hampden league club Koroit takes over the Dogs from playing coach Darcy Lewis, was yesterday adamant the Dogs were “far from the premiership favourite”.
“Just because we made the grand final last year doesn’t mean we’re the favourite,” he said.
‘‘A few clubs have done well with their recruiting’’
Parkinson said the Dogs’ recruiting strategy was not built around winning a premiership but filling gaps in its list from last season.
“Obviously we want to improve and go that extra step but we just want to add to where we lacked a bit last year,” he said.
“We haven’t secured a ruckman, which is one of the players we are looking for.
“We’re happy to go with young Josh Lock and use a couple of other players in there. We signed 90 per cent of the grand final side pretty much straight away.
“We’ve also got Luke Duncan coming back from a knee injury and Shane Graham coming back from an ankle injury.
Parkinson said Denning-ton’s pre-season had been based on building fitness, with a view to starting match-based training after the pre-season cup on February 22.
Parkinson said his second stint at the helm had been enjoyable, having previously coached the Dogs in 2010 — a season they made the grand final.
“I’ve been really happy, it’s been quite easy,” he said yesterday
‘‘Second time around you know what you’re in for.
“With my experience being out at Koroit, I’ve been pretty comfortable with the way things are going.”