SOUTH Bendigo coach Nathan Horbury has foreshadowed changes to his side's forward line structure, as the Bloods look to end their BFNL finals drought in 2020.
As he enters his second season at the helm, Horbury has identified finding other avenues to goal beyond star full forward Kaiden Antonowicz and capitalising on their depth of smaller, running players as a focuses for the Bloods.
Antonowicz, the BFNL's leading goalkicker in 2018 and second only to Strathfieldsaye sharpshooter Lachlan Sharp last season, led South Bendigo in 2019 with 69 goals.
Next best for the Bloods was Brock Harvey with 24 goals, while talented on-baller and best and fairest Brody Haddow chipped in with 18.
Following only five wins and a seventh-place finish in 2019, Horbury indicated the Bloods would 'think outside the box' in a bid to improve their forward productivity.
"We are going to trial something different and put Daniel Nalder down at centre half forward ... obviously he has been a centre half back for us for a long. long time," he said.
"We'll put him down there and try and hit the contest pretty hard, which he does, to give Antonowicz a bit of a chop out.
"Obviously losing Will Allen does hurt us.
"We are going to be small, but we need to be a quick ball-moving side and be really exciting in getting it down forward."
With Nalder on the move forward, Horbury said he would back Daniel Johnstone and Andy Vanheumen to handle the key defensive duties.
"We feel they developed a lot last year and there is no point in recruiting blokes when we think they can do the job for us," he said.
Horbury said he had detected noticeable differences in the vibe and numbers on the training track during pre-season compared to last year.
He was confident the boost in morale could lift the Bloods into finals contention.
"We think we are a lot fitter than last year and a lot more committed," he said.
"(Finals) is a must ... I think it's a failure if we don't aim to play finals. I think we have the list to do it.
"Last year we could have beaten Square and Sandhurst if we didn't have so many injuries, so I think we can do it if we put our heads together and have a good run of injury.
"I've heard a little bit (about other clubs), but I don't think it's great focusing on other sides.
"I am solely focused on us as a club because if you start thinking about other clubs and where they are at, you are going to lose focus on where you are at as a club."
(Finals) is a must ... I think it's a failure if we don't aim to play finals. I think we have the list to do it.Nathan Horbury
Senior players Antonowicz and Zac Hare said the change in game plan had been fully embraced by the playing group.
"We'll throw a few boys around and we have a few recruits who are running boys, hopefully that workload gets shared a bit and we can create a few more headaches," Antonowicz said.
"Going small (up forward) is not necessarily a bad thing if you don't have enough small defenders to go with them.
"We have a few boys down from Melbourne, who have been in the TAC system, and are on some VFL lists at the moment, which is good."
Those new arrivals are headed by Leon Cooper (former Dandenong Stingrays), Oscar White and Oliver Simpson (both Northern Knights).
South Bendigo will also look for continued development from Will Tobin and Mitch Goodwin and will regain Will Keck from injury.
Hare said he was confident of improvement in 2020.
"We obviously want to make finals and we want to be doing some damage come finals time," he said.
"I've been here four years and I haven't played finals yet, so obviously that's the aim for everyone.
"I know for me I'm very hungry to play finals - it's what we play footy for."
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