It has been a long six months for the Stawell Warriors. After a disappointing start to 2018, the Warriors finished strongly but could manage only a seventh placed finish.
With a new-look list and coach Damian Joiner taking over the sole position of head coach, the Warriors have their sights firmly set on finals.
Q&A with Damian Joiner
Q: Who has torn up the training track throughout the summer?
A: It has sort of been an even spread to be honest, but two guys who probably standout is young Bailey Taylor who put in a big pre-season and Jack Walker and Naish McRoberts also looked good on the track.
Q: What are your measures of success for 2019?
A: We just want to to progress on last year. Finals is our goal this year. It's that old cliche but we just want to play consistent footy and get better week by week.
Q: What style of football do you hope to put out on the park each week?
A: Definitely that contested style of footy, being tough around the contested footy. We also want to be known as a fast-paced team again. We aren't the tallest team going around so we will play to our strengths.
Q: Thoughts on the round one matchup against the Giants?
A: I love the matchup, it will be good to see where we are straight up. As last year's grand finalists they are a very strong team so it should be a good test early on. We are yet to beat them too so that is something on the bucket list for us.
Q: What will Saturday's list look like?
A: We have got a full list except for Cody (Driscoll) pretty much. He is progressing pretty well with his knee but we will give him a week or two. Otherwise we have a full list.
WHO'S IN AND WHO'S OUT - STAWELL WARRIORS
OUTS: Ben Leong, Todd Matthews, Jakob Salmi
LAST YEAR'S EFFORTS
Seventh (7 wins, nine losses, 86.7 per cent)
WHAT TO EXPECT
The Warriors are genuine finals contenders in 2019. Welcoming back Tom Eckel and Jamie Bach is big for Stawell while Jay Moody will provide a genuine threat around goals.
A lack of size in the side could be where they are caught out, but they have the potential to cut teams apart if they can get their hands on enough footy in the middle of the ground.
Games against other finals contenders like Horsham Saints, Warrack Eagles and Minyip-Murtoa will prove the difference in 2019.