Fitness focus for Swans

Updated: December 2, 2015
Mitch Herbison leads from the front at South Barwon training. Picture: AL PACKER

Mitch Herbison leads from the front at South Barwon training. Picture: AL PACKER

Mitch Herbison leads from the front at South Barwon training. Picture: AL PACKER

THE ability to physically compete with the upper echelon of the GFL will be a key focus of pre-season for South Barwon.

The Swans, who have replaced Warwick Knuckey and Matthew Scarlett with club great Clinton Wells and two-time reserves premiership coach James Maas, this year missed the finals for consecutive seasons for the first time since 199.

They posted a 2-7 win-loss record against the top five teams, with their victories coming against Newtown & Chilwell in Round 1 and Colac at Central Reserve in Round 15.

“We’re pretty happy with the list that we’ve got. It’s very young, but there’s a lot of talent there,” Maas said.

“(But) one thing we quickly identified is that we have to get these guys at the optimum fitness to be able to compete.

“If you look at the good sides that went around this year and in previous years, they’re really fit, they’re bigger bodied and their hardened come finals time.

“So we’re really trying to instill that into our players that they have to get to that.”

For Maas, taking charge of the Swans is a natural progression.

“This year (2015), being an assistant coach, I certainly got more of a taste of that,” he said.

“Both Knucks and Scarlo were great at giving us the opportunity to do a bit extra, so it probably stood me in good stead for what we are doing now.”

On the other hand, Wells, who finished as the GFL’s games record holder, will go from storied career to coaches box in the blink of an eye.

“It is a little bit different when you’re not on the end of the whistle,” he said.

“I always had an inkling there was a lot of extra work the coaches put in behind the scenes.

“But until you get thrust into that, you don’t fully understand.

“The whole recruiting side of thing is quiet time consuming, and there’s fair bit that goes into it.

“But in saying that, we don’t have to go out and recruit a whole heap.

“We just want to recruit a little bit of experience to help these young kids come through.”

In a major boost for South Barwon, Mitch Herbison and Tom Maas have both returned from solid stints with the Geelong VFL team.

“Both are really professional players and we hope both can give a bit back to this young group,” Wells said.

The Swans have also added sought after former Geelong Falcons’ big man Lochie Donne, 2014 GDFL Team of the Year member James Donaldson from Geelong West and Toby Stewart from East Geelong.

Wells is also excited by the imminent arrival of Jordan Huff from Horsham league club Noradjuha-Quantong.

“He comes with a very high recommendation,” Wells said.

“He a personal trainer but he’s going back to uni.”

Despite the return of Herbison and Maas, South will still have a contingent in VFL programmes.

Ben Raidme, Fraser Fort, Tom Stewart and Ryley Stuhldreier are training with the Cats, Nick Dixon has joined Port Melbourne and Darcy Fort may still remain with Footscray.

Confirmed departures are skipper Dan Roy, who will play some games under former teammate Sam Stavenuiter at Lorne, and Jordan Duncan, who sat out 2015 as a the result of a clearance dispute between the Swans and St Mary’s.

Twitter: @tom_king79