Cheetahs keep it real

Updated: February 21, 2016
Geelong West coach Andrew Clark looks on at training. Picture: AL PACKER
Geelong West coach Andrew Clark looks on at training. Picture: AL PACKER

Geelong West coach Andrew Clark looks on at training. Picture: AL PACKER

GEELONG West coach Andrew Clark is keeping his expectations for 2016 simple; “to win more than we did last year”.

After narrowly missing the finals in 2013 and winning seven games the following season, the Cheetahs claimed just three victories in 2015.

However, Clark is confident that mark can be passed this year.

“Looking at the draw, we don’t play the top three sides twice like we last season,” he said.

“I just want to be more competitive against the top teams, not win 5-6 games but get smashed by the top sides.

“And if we can be competitive, and win 1-2 against those, I’d be more than happy.

The Cheetahs assistant was thrust into the top job after Mark Hounslow stood down, citing work commitments, early in the new year.

The decision by Hounslow caught Clark by surprise.

“Mark spoke to me and said “look, I don’t know how I’m going to be able to handle the whole year with work and everything”,” Clark said.

Within 72 hours of Hounslow stepping down Clark, who started his football journey in Gippsland, was named as his replacement.

Clark would have had no issues if West had of looked elsewhere for Hounslow’s replacement, but was re-assured he could do the job by the playing group.

“I got a lot of messages from the senior players saying they were right behind me, which was good” he said.

“I sat down with 5-6 senior players after I was appointed.

“I didn’t want to get the job and not have their confidence.”

The Cheetahs have been busy on the recruiting front.

Adrian Carr has arrived from North Shore as senior assistant coach, while former Ocean Grove player Aaron O’Callaghan will also take on assistant’s role.

Tyson Doherty (Bell Park), Lachy Nilon (Modewarre), Ben Calnin (Bairnsdale) and Drew Robinson, who returns after a year from Forrest, will help offset the loss of best and fairest Justin White (Thomson), Jamie Donaldson (South Barwon) and Tim van Zyl (GWSP).

“I think we’ve injected some guys through the middle.

“I know we’ve lost ‘Whitey’. (He’s) going to be a big loss. You can’t cover blokes like him.

“(But) we’ve recruited blokes that will make us a quicker side.

“And we’ll move the ball quicker, and hopefully guys like ‘Vaughany’ and Dan Harris will have more opportunity rather than getting it in slow.

“The good sides, their defence is just too strong, they just get numbers behind the footy, rebound, and we just get caught out.”

Geelong West starts its 2016 campaign with a clash against fellow battler Corio at Isuzu Oval on April 2.

Twitter: @tom_king79

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