Tigers aim to build

Ryan Capron has been named co-captain. (Shawn Smits)

Tara Murray

Westmeadows is hoping to go under the radar in the Essendon District Football League division 2 competition this season.

The Tigers have dropped down to the lower division after a tough 2023, where they won five games and finished second bottom.

Having got games into a lot of their young players last season, the side was able to build some confidence late in the season with some late wins.

Coach Ash Flavel said they were hoping to build on last season.

“We’re hoping to go under the radar in division 2,” he said. “We haven’t lost many players and some of the kids will stand up and be better players.

“All the other sides have recruited well in division 2. Maybe some will go into the year that Westie isn’t going to be a good side, we’ll surprise a lot of clubs this season.”

The Tigers will again focus on youth and bring through the kids.

Flavel said while going down to division 2 wasn’t what they wanted, it was a good opportunity to reset and find their feet again after a tough period and build their way back up.

He said there was a bit more stability now which would also help with results.

“This time last year it was a disaster,” he said. “The majority of the playing group has stayed around and are another year older.

“They are all 12 months older and the good thing is they’re all in the early 20s. They will be fitter and have gained some more size.

“They’ve got senior games under their belts, where a couple of years ago they wouldn’t have had a chance to play.

“There’s been a couple of changes in the coaching staff as well.”

The Tigers recruiting has been sparse, with the club more focused on the players already at the club and added back some former players.

Jakob Hanlon returns to the club having played juniors at the Tigers, as does former reserves captain Jesse Smith and Alessio Saitta, another with senior experience.

Jordan Taglieri joins the club having moved down from Queensland. The versatile mid-forward joins his brother James Taglieri at the club.

Jacana premiership player Corey McCall has also joined the club providing some more experience.

Flavel said the playing group was pretty keen with many putting in work outside of training to be ready for the season.

Flavel said they can’t wait for it to get underway.

“The season comes around pretty quickly,” he said. “It’s only weeks away and there’s practice matches before that.”

The Tigers kick off their season on April 13 against East Sunbury.

Meanwhile, the Tigers announced on Wednesday that Jarrod Petersen and Ryan Capron would co-captain the senior side this season.