The cancellation of the 2020 football season could turn out to be a blessing in disguise for Heathcote District Football Netball League club Mt Pleasant.
The absence of footy in 2020 has had a positive impact on the attitude of some of the Blues' playing group and they're hungrier than ever to achieve something special in 2021.
"We've had six or seven players come back super fit that have lost seven or eight kilos,'' Walsh said.
"It's those types of players where we're going to get a lot of our improvement this year.
"These players had done the work before we'd even started pre-season training. It's a credit to the players who spent time, mentally and physically, to make themselves better.
"We still have (recruiting) points to use if we want, but I won't be too worried if we don't sign any other players. There's plenty of positive signs there."
The recruitment of former Golden Square star Adam Baird created a buzz around the club.
He joins his older brother Travis and fellow Golden Square premiership player Brayden Dorrington at Toolleen.
Adam Baird's addition, the retention of the 2019 playing list and the continued improvement of the club's younger players has Mounts ready to take the step from raw and exciting to genuine premiership contender.
"We've got a more mature playing group now,'' Walsh said.
"When I took over three years ago we had a young group and the more senior footy they've played the more they've understood the standards you have to reach to be a quality side.
"North Bendigo has been up there for a long time. They grew each with each other and held each other to high standards, particularly on game day.
Adam Baird was originally appointed as senior assistant coach, but Walsh decided to elevate the Michelsen Medal winner to co-coach.
"One of the reasons Adam came to us was that he wanted coaching experience. The quickest way he's going to learn how to coach is to actually do it,'' Walsh said.
"He'll be a coach on the field and I'll coach from the box.
"The players need a different voice every now and then and he can find out if he likes the role as a coach.
"I think it will be good for him and I think the players will enjoy it.
"Why make him senior assistant when we can just make him co-coach?"
Mount Pleasant has the bye in round one of the 2021 season. The Blues' first game is away to Elmore on April 17. Their first home game in in round three against LBU.
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