DANNY Chatfield hopes a strengthened spine can help East Warrnambool shake its tag as perennial battlers.
The newly re-signed coach is heading a recruiting drive, with five new faces set to don red and black next season.
The Bombers have secured the signatures of forward Corey Brown (Westerns), Nick Alexandrou (Warrnambool) and three-time Horsham Saints flag-winner Joel Richards.
Chatfield, a former Hawkesdale Macarthur mentor, said the recruits would bolster the Bombers’ midfield rotations and key position depth.
“We lacked a few bigger players this season, so we’ve built up the spine with another forward, a midfielder and a big ruckman in Nick,” Chatfield said.
“We’ll have those options which will be great, but it’s still a tough league.”
Tim Chatfield and Kalijah Madison (Caramut) have also joined the Bombers, while star forward Dylan Cross has added another season to his contract.
Chatfield revealed he’d targeted players to fill out the Bombers’ spine after identifying it as a weakness last season.
“We really focused on that and on getting some bigger bodies in,” he told The Standard.
“Our biggest bloke was probably our full forward (Jyran Chatfield) at 17 years of age. He’s still eligible to play in the new under 18 format.
“I think with him in particular, he’ll only get better with another forward. He was getting double teamed at times last season and he handled that well for his age.
“But he’ll be better if we can spread their defence.”
East Warrnambool will resume its pre-season on January 22.
Chatfield said his sole aim was to ensure the club improved on its ninth-place finish from 2017.
“We want to build this side. I’ve got another two years but after my time is up, I’d to think the club will be in a better place than it was when I found it,” he said.
“We’ve got most of the guys from last season back – I think we’ve only lost two. Apart from that, our list is pretty much intact.
“I think we started the building last season and we probably surprised a few sides.
I think with (Jyran Chatfield) in particular, he’ll only get better with another forward. He was getting double teamed at times last season and he handled that well for his age.Danny Chatfield
“We had that bit of belief and we’ll keep pushing the good sides and hopefully knock off a few top five contenders.
“We’ll hopefully be able to push a bit higher and then build again on that for the following season.”
East Warrnambool will battle Allansford in its season-opener at Reid Oval, before closing its campaign against Russells Creek on August 11.