Returning Timboon Demons president Mick Hunt says the club must be aggressive as it targets up to a dozen new senior footballers for season 2023.
The passionate former senior coach and admired clubman told The Standard all the key pillars were in place for long-term success at the Warrnambool and District league club, but strongly urged footballers looking for a change to consider the Demons as their new home.
He said the Demons had a stack of exciting kids coming through and were flourishing off-field with a newly-elected committee locked in ahead of Friday's first official pre-season session.
More than 40 people attended the recent AGM to elect the new committee, with five extra members putting their hands up to take on roles if need be.
"A lot of good clubs have no juniors, we've actually got juniors and netballers, we're financial, but we just lack senior footballers," he said. "When I say senior footballers, I'm talking about blokes who can play reserves and senior football.
"That's the key message. We need to pick up 10 to 12 players to make sure we're going into the season because when you're a bit thin on the ground you can bet you'll pick up injuries. When you go in with 55 and you've got a few spares, there's no injuries. "That's our wish list. Kids need something to aspire to. But from a club perspective, our ground is as good as anyone's seen it, our lighting set-up is good. We're well set-up."
Hunt, who coached the club from 2003 to 2004 and again in 2016-2018, praised the work done by outgoing president Brendan Hickey and the committee who steered the club through the difficulties of COVID-19.
"I take my hat off to them because it's a very, very difficult time," he said.
"They were thin for numbers because people were scared of COVID, not being in closed rooms, not having showers, all this stuff going on but to be able to still run a club is incredible."
The Demons will once again be coached by Marcus Hickey and Ben Newey in the dual-role for senior football, with Hunt confirming the pair had the full support of the committee.
He added the club was working hard to bring in more support around them.
"That decision has been made for a while, I think every year you coach you learn new things about yourself," he said.
"I've got a bit of a different approach here, I'll be making sure communication is open, it's paramount, every lead has to be followed. You don't sit and hope, you've got to make it happen."
Recruiting is top of the priority list for the Demons, who are actively on the hunt to bring in established footballers, and good people.
"Cobden has recruited a few, Nirranda has brought in a few, Simpson too, so there's going to be players thinking, 'I reckon I'm a senior footballer, but maybe if I'm not in the right position, will I get a senior game?', or there could be players at the bottom-end of the Hampden league who we could be onto," Hunt said.
"They'll all do their pre-seasons, they'll have 40 to 50 on the track but when the crunch comes and they can't get a game, we need to make sure we're open for business. My message to any footballer is to give Timboon a go - we'll make sure we'll look after them."
He said the club had a spirited and energised existing playing group ready to hit the ground running.
"Our number one is looking after all the kids and players already at our club but we've always got our ears open,' he said.
"When you look at the club, the netball, football, the only work we must do is get more footballers to this club. If we do it well, we can be a bit more active in the marketplace.
"Sometimes players come along when you're going alright but we're after players who went to help us kick-off into it."
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