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34 DAYS TO GO | EFL Media will be previewing each club ahead of the 2018 season with the #InFocus2018 series, all thanks to Yarra Valley Water & Choose Tap.   

By: Daniel Cencic 

Twitter: @DC_EFL 


Significant change at East Burwood has seen a unified Rams outfit emerge heading into 2018. 

Club-great Stuart Wynd, who was appointed senior coach in October, has overseen a dramatic shift in the club’s vibe after first meeting with the playing group, where a fresh coaching panel along with a myriad of recruits have been the driving force.

“Talking to the players, they were pretty flat when we had our meeting when I first got the job,” Wynd said.

“It was pretty important we got a fresh coaching group together that was really keen and enthusiastic and then we just needed to pick up some players that generate a bit of positivity around the place.

“So far it’s been terrific – we’re getting over 40 players on the track every night and that’s a huge start.

“A lot of these guys are used to having 20 to 25 players on the track most nights so to have over 40 and close to 50 on the track, it just puts a real buzz around the club and it’s certainly going to be competitive for spots and that’s what makes a good footy club.”

Wynd played over 300 games across four clubs in the EFL, including East Burwood, Warrandyte, Knox and Forest Hill, kicking over 1000 goals.

He is also a dual premiership player with the Rams, playing in the club’s 1999 and 2000 flags and later coached Knox to a Division 2 flag in 2007.

PICTURE: Leader Newspapers 

Alongside Wynd in the coaches’ box this season will be senior assistant Scott Hunter, four-time club best and fairest Adam Slater and dual premiership player Luke Slater.

RELATED: Wynd returns to Rams

“It’s important I’ve got people around me that I can trust and who I know are passionate about the footy club” Wynd said.

“He (Scott) has coached in his own right at senior level and done a great job so he’s going to be really good for me.”

The Rams have recruited aggressively ahead of their maiden season in Division 4.

Jason Kennedy has returned after last playing for the Rams in 2013, where he will also serve as an assistant coach this year.

Kennedy has spent the past three seasons at Balwyn, playing in the Tigers’ 2015 and 2016 Division 1 flags.

The 30-year-old has also had previous stints with the Casey Scorpions (2006) and Port Melbourne (2008-09), and more recently has played with Northcote Park in the Northern league.

Ex-junior Adrian Gileno also returns to the club, after stints with Vermont (2012-13), Mooroolbark (2014), Rye (2015-16) and Hawthorn AFC in the VAFA (2017), kicking over 500 goals in his career.

After three seasons with Healesville, Ben Miller will don the black and white again after a 10-year hiatus from the Rams having also previously played with Mitcham, while athletic ruckman Jai Middleton returns from South Australia.

“All those boys are going well – we’re looking forward to seeing how those guys go, certainly with mature bodies so that’s going to help us around the midfield, that’s for sure,” Wynd said.

“(Jason Kennedy) has been terrific so far.

“He’s trying his hand at coaching and he’s taken a fair bit of the training as well so it gives us experience and coming from such a successful club he instantly gets the respect from the players – he’s certainly well liked (and) he’s going to be a great asset for us.”

Wynd is looking forward to seeing Gileno in action, where he will add another dimension to the Rams’ forward line.

“We’ve got a bit of flexibility up there, but I’ll say he’ll be one of our targets down forward and hopefully he can get on the end of a few goals for us with a bit of midfield supply,” Wynd said.

“With a mature body, that’s what we sort of needed, we’ve tried to pick up some guys with bigger frames.”

The Rams have also welcomed a host of names from Knox, including Jordan Damatopoulos, Scott Davis, Jayden Duman, Brett Kay and Joel McGown.

Wynd, who coached the Falcons’ reserves last year, believes their experience will be invaluable to the Rams, off the back of Knox winning the Division 2 senior flag in 2017.

“They’ve come from higher divisions and playing in a really successful club last year and played a fair bit of first division footy as well,” he said.

“Experience around the club (has) been struggling for a while, so they’re going to be great assets for us.”

The new coach is wary of the challenges ahead, with the former competition powerhouse registering just one win and a draw in the past two seasons.

“We’re coming from a fair way back going down the divisions in the last few years so hopefully we can get up our consistency with a bit of luck,” Wynd said.

“Our main focus so far has been to get as many good people into the club as we could to bolster the numbers and get a bit of excitement around the place.

“Round 1 is the big focus – we just want to get a bit of consistency throughout the year and if that results into wins that’ll be great for the players and the club.”

East Burwood begins its campaign on Saturday, April 7, hosting Coldstream at East Burwood Reserve. 

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