New Gisborne coach Clinton Young said he was expecting his young playing group to take the next step in their development this season.

After a couple of seasons rebuilding and developing an exciting group of young talent in the Bendigo Football League, the Bulldogs are looking to rise up the ladder.

Young, who was playing assistant coach last season, said he was excited by what the playing group could do. Young replaces Brad Spear who stood down after two seasons.

“It’s been great so far,” he said.

“It’s an exciting young group and we’ve been trying to get everyone at training and getting ready for the season.

“Most of the guys have played a bit of senior football and a few are in their mid to late 20s, we’re in a good spot.

“There’s a lot of good young players and it’s exciting as a first year coach.”

Young said while they had yet to speak about season expectations, he was confident on improving from the six wins and seventh-placed finish they had last year.

“We’re ready to take the next step in the development and the group is definitely on the right track,” he said. “We were competitive for periods last season. We beat the three sides below us twice, but we couldn’t beat any side above us.

“We were in a lot of games, but weren’t good enough. We’ve got a pre-season under our belts and the group is better connected and hopefully we will get results.”

There hasn’t been many changes in the off season for the side.

Jack Baker is heading overseas and won’t play much football, if any, but he is the only key out. The club has signed VFL-listed player Ross Celano, while other VFL-listed players Darrean Wyatt and Matt Goodyear will again be aligned with the club. Wyatt didn’t play a game for the club, while Goodyear, who played juniors with Gisborne Rookies, was injured in his only game for the club last season.

Jack James, who spent last year with Coburg in the VFL, returns to the Bulldogs full-time.

Young said he was excited by what James could do.

“He’s back with us fully,” he said.

Ethan Minns, Jack Scanlon, Ollie Clough and Jack Reaper are among the standouts at preseason so far.