SECOND-year Port Fairy coach Sam Rudolph says there is an air of excitement around the Hampden league club as it prepares for the 2014 season.
Rudolph said he expected the Seagulls to consolidate on their promising 2013 campaign, which yielded two wins and a draw.
Port Fairy has bolstered its list with a number of high-profile recruits, including former Collingwood-listed midfielder Jaxson Barham.
Rudolph said Alice Springs recruit Lloyd Stockman impressed in the Seagulls’ practice match against Panmure on Friday night, while East Warrnambool ruckman Adam McCosh had been one of the club’s best on the training track.
“(Lloyd’s) wife is from here and they are having a baby and he moved down here with her to be near her family and for work,” he said.
“He’s a running half-back. He tackles really well — against Panmure on Friday night he buried a few fellas.
“He has played a fair bit of footy in the Northern Territory.”
Promising ruckman Jaise Coleman will follow former Port Fairy player Xavier McCartney back to Gardens Oval too.
Coleman is playing at Northern Territory Football League club Nightcliff alongside McCartney, who spent 2013 at Mininera and District league club Hawkesdale-Macarthur.
“He is still young, I think he is 23,” Rudolph said. “He’s still slightly built but he’s got a very good vertical leap and is mobile and athletic.”
Coleman will team with McCosh in the ruck following the departure of 2013 ruck combination Sandy Robinson, who has joined VFL club Port Melbourne, and James Vickers.
The Seagulls also added Geelong VFL-listed tall Jackson Hollmer and ex-VAFA league best and fairest winner Aaron Shields to their list in the off-season.
Rudolph downplayed the high-quality additions, emphasising a desire to improve Port Fairy’s culture first and foremost.
“I haven’t thought of finals, to tell the truth,” he said. “(It’s about) building on last year and more so about culture and trying to tick all the boxes.
“While I am here I want to improve Port Fairy as a whole, not just on the field. Success will come if you have the right culture.”
Port Fairy starts its season against Koroit on April 5.