TWO SEASONED recruits are expected to steady West Warrnambool’s promising yet youth-laden senior side this season.
Panthers coach Alastair Templeton hopes Damian Kenny (Mailors Flat) and Jack Sunderland (overseas) can ease the pressure on the club’s plethora of young talent as they vie to build on an eighth place finish in 2016-17.
Templeton, a footballer with Koroit, revealed West had retained the majority of its list and began training in late July.
“We’ll be pretty similar to last season, I reckon. Damian Kenny has a lot of experience and played at West years ago,” he told The Standard.
“It’ll be a matter of a couple of lads pushing for spots that didn’t play a lot of division one last season.
“We wanted to keep our core group of lads together because they're so young. We didn’t want to lose five of them at once and we didn’t really go out and headhunt for any players.”
The substitute teacher, who was set to collect English import Jack Sunderland from the airport today, was confident about the all-rounder’s potential.
“We don’t normally like to talk up our overseas players, but we’re pretty confident with this lad,” Templeton said.
“Sometimes with guys coming in from overseas you don’t know what you’ll get, but we think Jack will be a pretty good fit.”
Templeton said Sunderland had built a career a top-four batsman and opening bowler in the United Kingdom.
He said the Davidson Oval club had targeted an all-rounder and were pleased to secure the 24-year-old’s services.
“(Being an all-rounder) gives them the chance to impact the game in two ways rather than one,” Templeton said.
“I think with Jack Mills, our import last season, being a spinner, opposition worked out how well he was performing and were quite cautious while they were facing him.
“When batsmen are being super cautious, it takes away your impact a bit as a bowler.”
He also tipped youngster Sam Younghusband produce a strong season.
“Sammy is coming along nicely. He’s almost like a recruit for us this season,” Templeton said.
“He’s done the full Victoria under 19s pre-season and I’ve been meeting with him to have hits every now and again.
“He only really played four or five games for us when he came back from Carlton last year so it’ll be good to have him.”
West begins its season against Wesley-CBC on Saturday week.