Kaniva-Leeor United coach Trevor Albrecht reflects with Mail-Times sports journalist Jordan McArdle on his first season at the helm of the Cougars.
THE future is looking bright for Kaniva-Leeor United after somewhat of a rebuilding season in 2013.
Despite the Cougars finishing seventh five games out of the top five there are still plenty of reasons to be excited.
First-year coach Trevor Albrecht blooded a number of promising youngsters this season, many of whom look to have long careers ahead.
Josh Larocca, Bill Bartholomew, Eljay Maddern and Kody Ross all held their own in the top level, earning the praise of Albrecht.
Add improving pair Damien Hawker and Scott Willersdorf and things certainly look promising.
"We have almost reinvented those guys," Albrecht said.
"Damien was a fantastic tagger for us this season and Scott was a handy second ruckman after mainly playing in the reserves before that."
Albrecht believes his side was a couple of key position players away from being a serious finals contender.
"We came in with just one player, Jimmy Turner, left out of our travelling group from last season," he said.
"We lost a lot of height, but we gained some quality on-ballers in Paul Adlington and Steve Stallion."
The foundations of this year's side were built around former Adelaide Crow Turner, on-ballers Stallion and Adlington and skipper Jono Hicks.
Turner, who kicked 24 goals as a running defender and was named in the Cougars' best 14 times out of 15 matches, will be red-hot favourite for the club's best and fairest.
Other consistent performers included Charlie Sharples and Shane Dodson, while Shane Vivian started well before his season was cut short with a shoulder injury.
Albrecht said he hoped to stay on as Cougars coach in 2014 and was confident of a return to top-five action.
"They had a taste of finals last season and we want to get back into that realm of activity," he said.