PYRAMID Hill's early recruiting focus has been on adding depth to its midfield group following its fourth-placed finish in the Loddon Valley league this year.
The Bulldogs were co-coached this year by Adrian McErvale (playing) and Nathan Fitzpatrick (non-playing).
But with McErvale standing down having coached the Bulldogs since 2019, Fitzpatrick will take the reins by himself next year.
"It was a good learning experience alongside Macca this year, so I feel I'm as ready as I can be," said Fitzpatrick, who has previously coached the Bulldogs' under-18s to three premierships.
Fitzpatrick will be assisted by Matt Pollock.
Pollock, a former hard-nut midfielder and dual Leitchville-Gunbower premiership player, was forced to retire earlier this year after suffering fractures to his neck in a game for the Bulldogs.
"It's great to have Matt as an assistant coach. He's really knowledgeable and he'll work with the midfield group," Fitzpatrick said.
On the recruiting front, the Bulldogs have Steve Gunther returning after playing with St Albans in the Geelong Football League this year.
Gunther was a member of the Bulldogs' 2019 grand final team that lost to Mitiamo.
"He's a very versatile player... wing, half-forward, on-ball, he could fill a variety of roles," Fitzpatrick said.
"Speaking to some people down at Geelong, he's taken his game to a new level, so it's great to have him back with us.
"We've also got Seb Relouw coming up from St Albans as well. He's a half-forward/on-ball type of player, which after losing Matt Pollock is an area we've looked to bulk up to make sure we've got eight or nine blokes who can go through there.
"Jack Woodward who played with us a couple of years ago (also in the 2019 grand final team) is coming back after playing with Tyntynder and we've also got Ryley Dickens signed.
"Ryley is another of those players who could go through the midfield or play half-forward, we've just got to work out the best mix.
"And Liam Ly who has played some senior footy with Kangaroo Flat is also on board.
"With what we've recruited so far, they are all players who can go into the midfield and have an impact."
A departure for the Bulldogs is Bailey Goodwin, who has been appointed co-coach of Dunolly, while Evan Dorrington has also left Mitchell Park.
The Bulldogs held their best and fairest count last week with gun on-baller Matt Ladson winning the seniors ahead of runner-up Scott Mann.
"Matt had a fantastic season for us and was very dominant, particularly at the stoppages," Fitzpatrick said.
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