WESTERN Bulldogs captain Easton Wood is eager to lead his side back into the top eight after two years out of the finals.
The second-year skipper, who led the Bulldogs to a drought-breaking premiership in the absence of Robert Murphy in 2016, said the goal for the 2019 season was to surge back up the AFL ladder after finishing 13th last year.
"We would love to get back into the finals," the 29-year-old told The Standard.
"We want to put our best foot forward and really improve as a group and get back into September."
The Camperdown export was back in the south-west for the club's community camp on Monday.
Having stayed the night at his childhood home Wood said it was exciting to give back to the region he grew up in.
"It's wonderful to be back down in Warrnambool as I grew up in Camperdown so it's very familiar to me," the defender said.
"I used to kick about at Lake Pertobe all the time and even tried to drop into the skate bowl a number of times and not too successfully.
"When I was young you looked at some of the players that had been able to come from this area and do well in AFL and you kind of dream if they can do it you want to try and do it yourself.
"It's nice that it has come full circle and I could be that for maybe a few kids here."
Wood said his game would not change too much in 2019 with premiership coach Luke Beveridge planning to keep the intercept defender floating across the Bulldogs' half-back line.
He also said his style of captaincy would also remain the same as he enters a new year as the leader of the club.
"You don't change too much now that it is my second official year in the role as captain," he said.
"I am growing in confidence and getting a lot more comfortable and we have a young group and it provides immense opportunities to mold those boys, which is something I have really been enjoying."
The Bulldogs finished their two-game JLT series winless after going down to St Kilda in Ballarat on Sunday.
But Wood said the side were ironing out the kinks heading into a round one match-up against Sydney at Marvel Stadium on Saturday, March 23.
"It hasn't all gone to plan and you would prefer to win but we have taken out some really good things," he said.
"We have a few things to work on as well but we are looking forward to round one."
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