Footscray United has finally captured a glimpse of the light at the end of a long and dark tunnel.
The Bulldogs are ready to put three consecutive relegation seasons behind them and start their climb back to relevance through the Victorian Turf Cricket Association division 4.
There is no better time than right now for the Bulldogs to snap out of the funk that has dogged them since their last premiership in 2015-16.
“You always want to have success, but this year even more so,” Bulldogs captain-coach Steve McKay said.
“It’s an exciting year, the club’s 85th anniversary, new clubrooms, new deck and hopefully some success on the cricket pitch.
“I haven’t looked forward to cricket this much in a few years now.
“There’s a good vibe around the club.”
McKay is sad to be farewelling Footscray United’s old clubrooms at Scovell Reserve.
While there have been plenty of good times – he celebrated two senior premierships in those rooms – he knows it is best for the Bulldogs’ future to turn a new chapter.
“It’s definitely emotional, but it’s been in the works for a number of years now,” McKay said. “We knew it was coming, but it still doesn’t make it easier because we’ve had some good times in those clubrooms.”
Footscray United has been in a stunning freefall over the past three summers.
The Bulldogs started that period in the VTCA’s second tier, but with just four wins in the past three seasons, they have tumbled to their lowest ebb to now reside in the fifth-tier.
McKay said the club struggled after the glorious 2015-16 season due to the departure of seven players.
Even McKay spent time away from the kennel, playing two seasons with Westmeadows, but he did not enjoy his time away.
As they say, home is where the heart is.
“I’ve been at Footscray United since I was eight, so that’s 25 years,” he said. “
It’s a very family-orientated club and all the guys around the club are welcoming.
“It’s one of those clubs you love to be around.
“I play cricket because I enjoy it and I wasn’t really enjoying it there [at Westmeadows], but you deal with it, you move on.”
McKay returned to Footscray United ready to get back to work.
The Bulldogs re-installed him as their leader despite spending time away from the club.
“It’s a good challenge,” he said. “I did it [captaincy] three years ago and we had some success that year, so we’re hoping for a bit more success this year.
“With the team we have, I’m pretty confident of getting back up there soon, if we can keep these guys together.”
United ready to re-ignite A Bulldogs’ legend’s daughter arrives at the kennel Yaditha Ushan is a crucial part of Footscray United’s bowling attack.
When quizzed on Footscray United’s strengths and weaknesses this season, McKay spoke in glowing terms of the batting line-up, but stopped short of mentioning any weaknesses.
McKay is happy with the squad the Bulldogs have assembled and is just eager for the rain clouds to disperse so he can see how well they match up against the rest of the competition.
“From what I’ve seen so far this season, it’s looking promising,” he said.
Some of the key players for Footscray United include left arm quick Yaditha Ushan, opening bowler Kevin Dahl and leg spinner Anushka Thanthiri.
With 444 runs, Charith Perera was the Bulldogs’ leading run scorer last summer, so big things are expected again, while Tharthiri has impressed in the opening spot in preseason.
Footscray United will do battle with St Andrews at Pennell Reserve in Braybrook on Saturday.