TWO emerging South Rovers footballers say coach Adam Matheson's ability to draw out the best in his players will inspire the club in 2020.
Defender Jaxen Dalton and wingman Jack Dowd, both 18, believe Matheson, a school teacher by trade, can lift the Lions to a Warrnambool and District league finals berth.
Dalton said Matheson knew how to bring out different players' strengths.
"He brings the best out of every player. He always wants to see their best and pushes them," he said.
Dowd agreed, saying "he tries to get the best out of you".
Dalton and Dowd are among South Rovers' teenage cohort hoping to consolidate their spots.
Dalton featured in 12 senior matches last season, playing across centre half-back.
He said the position, often regarded as one of the most important on the ground, was a challenge.
"The back line are pretty good to play with, all good fun. My teammates certainly help me out a lot," Dalton said.
"You've got to keep switched on and always be moving."
Dalton, who works as a fence builder for teammate Aaron Seabrook, expects the Lions' young players to handle the rigours of senior football.
He highlighted Dowd and Sam Hodgins as two ready to take the next step.
"We've definitely got potential," Dalton said.
"We have got a heap of young blokes so we're pretty quick at moving the footy."
Dowd, who turns 19 in March, wants to make a wing his own after playing three senior games in 2019.
"That's where 'Matho' had me playing when I was playing seniors last year so I wouldn't mind that position again," he said.
"It's a bit of freedom, you can have a bit of a run."
Dowd, who is doing a cabinet-making apprenticeship, rucked in the juniors but prefers the flexibility the wing role provides.
"I am not too tall but I can jump a bit. I played a bit of ruck in the ressies as well and filled in playing one game in the seniors in the ruck against Dennington," he said.
The Lions start their season against Russells Creek on March 28.
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