NEW Dennington coach Leigh Anderson says plans are in place to lift the Dogs back into finals contention.
Anderson, 46, will lead the Warrnambool and District league club in 2023 with former coach Ben Thornton to work alongside him as a playing assistant.
The father-of-two said he was excited to challenge himself.
"I am looking forward to taking on the role. I've been there 12 months now as assistant coach so it's given me time to familiarise myself with the club, the players and the supporters," he said.
"I feel it's time to take on the next step and take on a senior coaching role."
Anderson, who works at The Standard in distribution, arrived at the kennel from Hampden league club South Warrnambool where he had four years as reserves coach and a season learning from senior mentor Mat Battistello.
He also led South Rovers to the 2011 reserves premiership.
Dennington won four games this year - a marked improvement on a winless campaign in 2021 - with Anderson and Thornton identifying areas which could result in another step forward.
The Dogs have retained 95 per cent of their list - Sam Curtis is travelling overseas and will be an omission - while fitness, video analysis as a teaching tool and recruiting will be key pillars for the club.
"We have identified already that we have to be a lot fitter as a club. I will be pretty hard as a coach but fair," Anderson said.
"We need to get a lot fitter and with that our skills will improve.
"I think we were really hampered by injuries and I think those injuries came off the back of our guys not being fit enough.
"The pleasing things were we have game plans and stuff in place that myself and Ben went through last year and we'll work on other areas."
Anderson, who has the support of wife Kerryn and children Sam, 14, and Meg, 11, said the club had "irons in the fire as far as recruiting goes".
"We'll obviously have to recruit a lot harder than every other club from where we're coming from," he said.
"The more successful clubs don't have to recruit as much because we they have strong lists.
"We have a young list so we have older guys in there to help them out."
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