Sustainable success the key goal for Blues in Loddon Valley

IN CHARGE: Ryan McNish is preparing for his second season at the helm of Loddon Valley league club Inglewood, which has been doing it tough for more than a decade. Picture: ADAM BOURKE
IN CHARGE: Ryan McNish is preparing for his second season at the helm of Loddon Valley league club Inglewood, which has been doing it tough for more than a decade. Picture: ADAM BOURKE

AFTER more than a decade as one of the Loddon Valley league’s battling clubs, Inglewood coach Ryan McNish knows there’s no quick fix for the Blues overnight.

McNish acknowledges the recent history of the club speaks for itself – the Blues haven’t played senior finals since 2003 and have collected six of the past seven wooden spoons – which is why he’s all about selling a future vision.

“It’s very hard to sell off past results, so it’s all about trying to sell a vision of what I want to do and what the committee and myself are trying to build,” McNish said on Thursday.

“We’re trying to recruit a lot of younger guys to get that youth into the club and create a positive culture at Inglewood because we want sustained success.

“We don’t want to go out and get four or five Melbourne players and maybe win four or five games and then drop back down again the year after.

“We want to build something that is strong and that this playing group we’ve got can build together.”

Among the recruits joining the Blues this year are ruckman Lachlan Sidebottom – the Heathcote District inter-league ruckman last season – from White Hills and Tate Mifka from Congupna.

Inglewood's past decade.

Inglewood's past decade.

The Blues have also picked up Zac Berthun from Kangaroo Flat, Michael Rorke and Sani Egan – who were both among the best players in North Bendigo’s reserves grand final win last year –   Diamond Creek’s Levi De Pyle, the trio of Rohan Baldwin, Joe Kenny and Liam Drummond out of the Eaglehawk under-18s and Peter McKay from White Hills.

And in what’s a big positive, the Blues will have midfielder Bailey Evans back full time from Trinity College – where he won the best and fairest last year – while Nathan McNish and James Essex are returning from injury.

McNish is entering his second season as coach of Inglewood. He was co-coach with Jon Starr last season, but is doing the role solely this year.

Inglewood’s only victory last year with an 18-point win over Maiden Gully YCW Eagles in round 10, with one area McNish is focusing on is the Blues becoming a more dangerous side on the outside.

“We’ve got a lot of young and keen guys and I expect we’ll be a lot quicker and, hopefully, we’ll be able to run a few sides off their legs with our pace,” McNish said.

“We matched teams on the inside last year, but we just lacked that outside polish. But we’ve got some class users in this year with the three boys out of the Eaglehawk thirds and Pete McKay and Sani Egan coming in.”

The Blues have the bye in the opening round before taking on Bridgewater in round two.