GISBORNE coach Clinton Young says he feels spoiled for midfield depth after adding further grunt to his stacked on-ball brigade.
Calder Cannons’ 2017 captain, best and fairest and TAC Cup Morrish Medal runner-up Brad Bernacki has continued the Bulldogs’ haul of recruits as Gisborne further strengthens its 2019 BFNL premiership credentials.
Following his stellar 2017 season with the Cannons, Bernacki played six VFL games with Coburg this year and adds to what will be an elite Bulldogs’ midfield next season.
“I haven’t seen him play myself, but all reports are he’s a tough on-baller. He’s not a big frame at this stage, but he’s an inside midfielder, who is going to be a great recruit for us,” Young said on Wednesday.
Bernacki is the third recruit who will be injected into the Bulldogs’ midfield along with the experienced pair of the returning Scott Walsh and Casey Summerfield, who will join an on-ball unit that also features two of their top-three in the 2018 best and fairest in Ethan Minns and Matt Goodyear.
“Our on-ball brigade is going to be batting quite deep next year, so from a coaching point of view I’m going to be spoiled for options,” Young said.
“We’re in our fourth week of pre-season and the boys have been training really well, so it’s exciting for club.”
The Bulldogs’ recruiting campaign has landed Bernacki, Summerfield, Pat McKenna, Scott and Tim Walsh, James Ferry and another on-baller Dylan Clayton from Tasmania, while Jack Baker is returning after a year overseas.
“We have a long list of recruits, which is a lot different to 12 months ago when it was quite difficult having conversations trying to attract players to the club,” Young said.
“Now it’s falling into place nicely where we have a lot of players returning to the club.”
After returning to the finals for the first time since 2014 this year, Young says the Bulldogs are ready to embrace their increased expectation that has come with their swag of recruits.
“Making finals last season was a really positive step and with our additions we’re setting ourselves to be one of the better teams in the competition,” Young said.
“We made some really good ground last season and now we’re looking for a really consistent year in 2019.”
The Bulldogs have lost Ross Celano, Riley Paterson and Darrean Wyatt from this year’s list.
Gisborne begins its 2019 season with an away game under lights against Castlemaine at Camp Reserve on Saturday, April 13.
That will be followed by a Good Friday game at home against arch-rival Kyneton in round two at Gardiner Reserve.
Have you signed up to the Bendigo Advertiser's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in central Victoria.