PORTLAND knows good kicking is good football - especially when you're playing an attacking brand.
The Tigers, who were the Hampden league's surprise packet in 2021, are placing a pre-season emphasis on ball skills in a bid to better their fifth-placed finish in 2022.
The Hanlon Park-based club was in the mix to play its first finals series since crossing to the major league in 2013 but COVID-19 restrictions thwarted their chance at the big time.
Coach Jarrod Holt hoped his players could take belief out their 2021 success, which came despite a mounting injury list.
"My message to the boys has basically been that there's no secret to success, it's just hard work," he told The Standard.
"I know it sounds pretty boring and everyone wants some miraculous answer but I think that it's as simple as our consistency, turning up to training, working on our fitness.
We've had a big focus on our kicking skills at training as well. That's been something we've identified we want to improve in and our style of footy is still about attacking the game and taking them on.- Jarrod Holt
"We've had a big focus on our kicking skills at training as well. That's been something we've identified we want to improve in and our style of footy is still about attacking the game and taking them on.
"But I think if our kicking can improve it'll improve our overall game for sure."
Portland has added three former South West District league charges to its ranks. Ash Orchard has arrived from Tyrendarra while Lachie Goldby has returned after a stint at Westerns.
Marty Curtis has also crossed from Westerns and will don yellow and black with a Ballarat Football League pedigree. The 33-year-old spent time at North Ballarat City - most recently in 2017 - and will add to the Tigers' engine room depth.
Holt said Jake Edwards, who'd travelled west from Melbourne each week in 2021, wouldn't play in 2022.
He said Edwards, a dynamic midfielder, would prioritise work after gaining a Masters degree.
Holt said the club was delighted to welcome players looking to test themselves at a higher level.
"For sure, we encourage it," he said.
"First and foremost we want to create an environment where people want to be there and test themselves out.
"To their credit they're putting in plenty of work and doing the right things and that's the way to go about it."
He said the players were motivated and had been showing good signs at training.
"It's a bit hard this time of year with other commitments and going away and whatnot but I think every coach would tell you they'd like more people at training," Holt said.
"I think overall it's been pretty healthy. We've had a few new faces and the guys seem to be pretty well motivated.
"Hopefully the guys can see the club is on an upwards trajectory and I think it's given guys confidence to know what they're doing will work and they'll get some rewards for it.
"At the same time we know we're promised nothing. We haven't played a game to win a game yet so who knows? We just want to be able to turn up on game day and put performances out.
"There's always that unknown but hopefully the positive stuff that happened last year gives those guys a bit of confidence."
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