New Woodend-Hesket coach Tom Carland says it’s the club’s talented young list which attracted him to the Riddell District Football League club.

Carland comes to the Hawks after four years as playing-coach at Birchip-Watchem. He played his junior and early senior football with Aberfeldie.

He said the challenge of bringing the club’s junior results through to the senior ranks was what excited him about the role.

“It’s a new challenge and a new chapter,” he said.

“There’s been success through the junior program and we want to bring that success through to the senior program.

“We’ll tinker a few things and try and lift the professionalism to another level.

“We want to get them motivated and enjoying training and give the side a shot at playing finals.”

At just 27, Carland will be a player-coach and will add to the Hawks’ midfield stocks.

In his four years at Birchip-Watchem, he took the side that won the wooden spoon the season before he got there to a grand final last month. They played finals every year Carland was in charge.

He said he wants to bring what he learnt in those four years to the Hawks.

“Birchip is a small country town of 600 people and quite unique,” he said.

“The footy club is at the forefront of everything in the town and I want to bring some of that to Woodend.

“Birchip relies on recruiting players to keep building.”

Carland said that looking at the list they had a good group of local talent and they would recruit a few more players to strengthen the side. The Hawks finished ninth with four wins this year.

“We’ve got some recruiting ideas and strategies,” he said. If people say no, then it’s on to plan B, C, and D.

“The spine looks good on paper. We need a couple of outside mids and a back-up ruckman.”

As well as adding more depth, something the Hawks have been missing recently, Carland also wants to reduce the amount of injuries which have affected the Hawks the last couple of years.

“If you set up a training model to get away from soft tissue injuries, you can improve the fitness of the players and reduce the amount of injuries,” he said.