REAPPOINTED Portland coach Jarrod Holt says he wants the Tigers’ debut Hampden league campaign to lay a platform for future success.
Holt will steer the club through a historic season after winning support to remain at the helm for a third season.
The 30-year-old was yesterday excited about the chance to help Portland make history in the Warrnambool-centred competition when season 2013 gets under way.
He said the Tigers’ inaugural season would be without expectation, but they wanted to “have an impact” on the field.
But more importantly, the campaign was about establishing structures, attitudes and a culture which would help the club be successful in the Hampden league.
“Hopefully (leaving a legacy) can be something we can use as an incentive leading up to the start of the season.
“That we can make this season a benchmark for us.
“As a coach, it gives me an excuse to push the boys pretty hard. This is how it’s got to be.
“And hopefully the boys are on board. The guys we have got have really good attitudes.
“Last year they were really easy to coach and we improved a lot.”
Portland has largely flown under the radar since it confirmed it would leave the Western Border league to join the Hampden league.
The spotlight has been on Hamilton, where members of former clubs Hamilton and Hamilton Imperials last night voted on the name and moniker of their merged club.
But the Tigers have quietly gone about preparing for season 2013, re-signing Holt and identifying gaps in their list.
Holt said the club had yet to speak to the bulk of its playing list, but would do so in the coming month.
He left the door open for guns James and Winis Imbi to return to the club and hoped talented young footballers would want to test themselves in the Hampden league.
A key defender and key forward were recruiting targets, but the club would take “the best quality player” who wanted to join the cause.
Holt said he could not predict how Portland would fare in its debut season.
“Between myself and the committee, what we’ve spoken about is it could go either way,” he said.
“We could try and find our feet and cruise through it, or we could try and make an impact in our first year, which is what we want to do. It’ll be good to know where we stand.
“The Hampden league is a bit stronger than the Western Border league and we’ve always been very competitive in the Western Border league.
“But we know we need to improve to make an impact.
“It’s something no one is going to know. We can speculate as much as we like and people will talk back and forth.
“But we’ll go into the year with no expectations.
“We’ll find our feet as the season progresses and we’ll get to the halfway mark and reassess what we want to achieve, where we should finish up.”
Portland finished its last Western Border league season in third spot, bowing out in the preliminary final.
Its under 18s won the premiership and the club hopes a handful of teenagers will rise into seniors.