Woodend-Hesket is putting together a program it hopes will help the side climb up the Riddell District Football League ladder.

After a couple of injury-riddled years, the Hawks, under new coach Tom Carland, have put a real emphasise on fitness early in the pre-season.

New football manager Dennis Barker said things had been going well.

“We’re averaging 30 players a night which is good at this time of the year,” he said.

“Andy Wilson is our fitness man and he’s set up a structure and program which the boys are really loving.

“We hope his fitness knowledge will help us get over the injury hurdles. We’ve had a bad run with injuries.”

The Hawks have also added some extra depth to the team.

Alister Rae comes across from Essendon District Football League premier club Strathmore and will provide a target up forward.

Tom Wilson, who comes from Tungamah, will add to the midfield with Carland, who is a playing coach.

Trent Laverie will add to the backline in his return to the club, having spent this year at Avondale Heights.

The club is hopeful that Dean Bramley, another player from Strathmore, will also add to the midfield. The Hawks announced his signing on Facebook, but he still needs to get a clearance from Strathmore.

Barker said they were still talking to more players .

Cam Arnold leaves the Hawks after just one season, while under-18.5 league best and fairest winner Shane Lindsay has joined East Sunbury.

Barker said the club aimed to improve on this season’s results – it finished ninth on the ladder with four wins.

“The depth is improving and we’ve recruited well,” he said.

“We’ve got five or six players coming and the positives of the last couple of years has been being able to play the young blokes.”

“They’ve got senior experience and hopefully more mature and ready to play senior football.”

Stewart Braddy, who previously coached the club’s under-18s, has been appointed reserves coach, while Steve Chapman will again take on the under-19 coaching role.