Pingers new challenge

Finnen Hoare (Joe Mastroianni). 280870_02

Tara Murray

Epping has a new sense of confidence heading into the Northern Football League division 3 season.

After a number of tough seasons in the division 2 competition, the Pingers were relegated at the end of last season.

While disappointed to go down a grade, Pingers coach Brad Hollow said the club was working hard to reinvigorate itself.

The club kicks off its season on Good Friday against Lalor.

“A lot of hard work has been done to get the club back on track,” he said. “We haven’t won many games, three games in the last three to four years.

“Lalor didn’t win a game last year. It’s nice to start the season against the local rival.”

Hollow said they’d done a fair bit of recruiting having kept 80 to 85 per cent of the squad.

Dallyce Taylor, James Tadd, Jaedyn Kearney, Corey Middleton and Jordan Wilkins have all returned to the club.

Adrian Alfonsi, Daniel Geenaccaro, Seb Latina, Reece Field, Michael Gillard and Ostinn Bellingham are among the key signings.

Hollow said Latina and Wilkins were two he was excited to see in the midfield, while Alfonsi will be a key target up forward.

“He’s a full forward and the last time I saw him play, he kicked six goals against us,” he said. “Hopefully there’ll be many more of those bags this year.”

As well as the signings on field, the Pingers have made some signings off field, including that of bringing in a strength and conditioning coach.

Hollow said he had got the group to where they wanted to be at this time of the year.

After little success in recent seasons, Hollow said they were keen to change that this year.

He said they would have a tough first five weeks of the season, playing several of the contenders.

“I think the group is confident in what we have recruited,” he said.

“The expectation is like any other club, we all want to play finals and want that premiership.

“You want to finish in the top part of the ladder and see how you go in finals.

“Division 3 is going to be a very healthy competition.”

In other matches scheduled for Good Friday, Greensborough hosts Eltham.

The rest of division 3 along with division 2 will start this weekend, while the rest of division 1 will kick off the following weekend.