Blues ready to go again

Majority of Keilor's premiership side is back in 2024. (Ljubica Vrankovic) 362605_03

Tara Murray

Keilor coach Mick McGuane is optimistic his side will have another strong year in the Essendon District Football League premier division.

Coming off an undefeated season, while the club’s reserves, thirds, under-18s and top under-16 side all went deep in finals, the Blues had plenty to celebrate last season.

McGuane said it had been another strong pre-season.

“We’ve done some good training blocks and got through the practice match stage, relatively healthily,” he said.

“Now it’s about seeing who is available week to week. We have nine players contracted to Victorian Football League lists and another one training.

“We have 15 players in the pathways, 14 at the Western Jets and one at the Calder Cannons.

“That is what we are about.”

McGuane said someone like Campbell Gray was one that stood out of those at the higher level.

He said while he was earmarked for their senior program they believed he was a VFL calibre player. A conversation about that has ultimately ended in him signing with Essendon’s VFL side.

The Blues have managed to keep the majority of last season’s premiership team in tact, with 20 of the 22 players re-signing.

Matthew Clark will play over the other side of the city, while Jonathan Marsh is moving back to New South Wales.

McGuane said a forward of Clark’s calibre was hard to replace, while Marsh’s work commitments had changed and he had to take it.

The Blues haven’t added many new players, but have added two players who have been on AFL lists or rookie lists.

Josh Honey, who played his junior football with Keilor returns to the club, while Cody Brand joins the club from the Sunbury Lions.

“Cody is a young player still finding his feet and it getting better every week,” McGuane said.

“It’s out Clark and in Brand, who will play a bit of ruck as well.

“Josh is finding his feet after leaving the AFL system. We gave him time and let him breath and we didn’t see him before Christmas.

“He’s done quite significant work since.”

McGuane said there were a number of youngsters who would also push for senior spots, with history showing McGuane isn’t afraid to give them a chance.

Despite going through the season undefeated last year, the Blues had 36 different players play senior football.

“We didn’t lose a game [doing that] so it bodes well for the future,” McGuane said. “The players are patient and understand why the system works the way it does.”

The Blues kick off their season on Friday in their annual Good Friday clash with Strathmore.

The match also doubles as a grand final rematch.

While there’s been a coach change and some player changes at the Mores, McGuane has stayed focused on his side.

“I never try to get caught up with all the innuendo,” he said. “We’ll wait until the team comes out and see how we are against and how we think they will play.

“They’ve added [Trent] Durmont which adds depth in the middle… They’ve got some very experienced players in the back line.”