HORSHAM coach Jordy Burke says the Demons have found a new intensity at pre-season training, after missing out on last year’s grand final.
“We’ve really stepped it up a level – the blokes are showing a lot of hunger,” he said.
Burke said he had been impressed by numbers at training and the club’s pre-season camp at the weekend.
“We’re averaging high 20s to early 30s at training, which has been really pleasing,” he said.
“We had our pre-season camp on Saturday at Lake Fyans with about 30 players and we put in a pretty hard day’s work.”
He said missing out on last year’s grand final and having a number of young players coming through the ranks had been contributing factors.
“I’m sure it helps. When you don’t quite get there you want to work hard and get back there,” Burke said.
“The young boys coming through – I think we had eight or nine playing Rebels practice matches on Sunday – they’re going to be really good for us.”
The club has lost prominent forward Dylan Parish to Laharum and midfielder Tyler Blake to Dimboola, but Burke believes the side has covered its losses and may even have another couple of recruits to come.
Demons premiership players Aaron Barnett and Sean Christopher have returned from Horsham District league club Kalkee and Goulburn Valley league club Echuca respectively, while Simon Hobbs and Harry Young have also crossed from the Kees.
“We’ve obviously lost a couple, but we’ve picked up a few as well,” Burke said.
“I think we’ve replaced those guys really well.
“A bloke like Dylan you’d struggle to replace in any league.
“Harry and Simon are two younger guys and hopefully they’ll come in and develop their footy.”
Burke said Young – fresh from a year out of football – would add midfield depth alongside goalkicking on-ballers Barnett and Hobbs, while Christopher could play as a key position forward, defender or ruckman.
He also said Guy Smith – who coached the Demons at the beginning of their streak of 10 premierships – would be taking the reins of the club’s reserves team this season.