JOHN Houston is confident Woodford can defy expectations to claim a fourth-successive premiership.
The three-time Woodford premiership coach told The Standard the Eels were “most definitely” pushing for another Warrnambool and District Cricket Association flag.
While the task will be made significantly harder without Tommy Jackson (Geelong) and Alex Jennings (Northcote), Houston is confident the Eels can cover their losses.
“It’s great for both of them. Tommy will be down there most of the year and Alex will have a few games here and there,” Houston said.
“We’ve got Will Verco, Ollie King and Isaac Fowler coming in. Will was meant to arrive last year but was injured, but he’s someone who has played a high standard of cricket.
“We’ve been able to bring in those couple of good young players too, so it shouldn’t take long to get them firing.”
Woodford has otherwise retained the majority of its list.
Eels captain Nick Butters will return for the Bushfield-based club after a summer of cricket in the United Kingdom.
Houston said his side could be underdone for the first couple of games but predicted a strong run home.
“The numbers at training haven’t been too bad in that Nick (Butters) has been away and the footy guys have been in finals,” he said.
“It’s been a bit tricky to work that but we’ll be there fitness-wise.
“They’ll pick it up again quickly enough.
“We’ve had the same issue the last couple of seasons and we’ve managed fine. We’ve been able to get them right and we know what we need to do.”
Woodford faces Dennington in its Twenty20 season-opener on Saturday and is hoping to kick start its bid for a fourth-successive flag after defeating Russells Creek in last season’s decider with a 10-minute bowling blitz.