By: Joseph Arthur
#InFocus2020 | Croydon
After falling at the final hurdle in the grand final last year, the Croydon Blues want to go one-step further in season 2020.
Finishing second on the ladder with a 13 -5 record, the Blues were up-and-down across the 2019 finals series, ultimately falling short in the big dance by six goals to the minor-premiership-winning Doncaster East Lions.
With the season delayed by at least a month, Croydon’s path to redemption has to wait. However, senior coach Morris D’Alessandro’s expectations remain clear.
“It’s just about continuing on in the same vain,” D’Alessandro said.
“That’s as far ahead as I look, just an improvement across the board.
“We’ve got a really good crew of under-19’s coming through, so we’re really excited about where we can go.”
Between the clubs returning players and crop of under-19’s joining the senior list, there’s plenty of continuity in Croydon’s list from last season to this one.
However, some key recruits will be play big roles for Croydon, bolstering its already strong squad.
Dylan Pascoe and Brayden Mead are among the fresh faces, joining the club after previous stints with Premier division sides.
“There’s a few (recruits) we’re looking at to be good players for our footy club, just to strengthen what we’ve already got,” D’Alessandro said.
“Coming from Premier (division) they were probably a little limited in where they played, we pride ourselves on giving people opportunity.
“We’re always open to having a look at players in different areas of the ground.”
The experience and professionalism Croydon’s new recruits will offer could go a long way towards getting the club over that final hurdle.
Its young list will look to them for guidance and support as the Blues journey towards grand final glory begins as soon as outside circumstances permit.
In terms of the senior side’s preseason, D’Alessandro said he’s been impressed with the standard of fitness and football his men have brought to training.
“It’s been excellent,” D’Alessandro said.
“This is a group of outstanding young men, my challenge as a coach was making sure they didn’t come back just thinking because we made the grand final, it was a given that we’d be there again. But they’ve put some real hard yards in and actually are looking really fit.
“Numbers have been outstanding and the standard of training has been really good.”
However, as a result of a global pandemic training has been suspended and the season delayed.
The COVID-19 virus is wreaking havoc on the world but the Croydon coach is resolute his club can bounce back.
“I’ve just encouraged the boys to keep themselves in good shape…that’s all you can really do at this point,” D’Alessandro said.
“They’ll obviously be training on their own and just making sure they’re getting as many sessions as they can in to keep themselves at a reasonable level.
“Obviously it might be a shorter season so I think the early games are going to be really important.”