The silly season can be taxing for senior football coaches.
Chasing recruits while keeping an eye on the salary cap and player points system can be mentally draining.
Not so for Golden Square coach Christian Carter. The off-season has been kind to the second-year Dogs' coach.
By design, recruiting was kept to a minimum.
The Dogs added former Bridgewater midfielders Jarrod Fitzpatrick and Liam Jacques, with the latter returning to Wade Street for a second stint with the club.
The prized signings for the Dogs were Pioneers' graduates Jack Hickman and Ricky Monti.
The highly-rated duo have had a taste of senior footy already and their decision to play in the BFNL full-time, rather than trying their luck in the VFL, was music to Carter's ears.
"We didn't go overboard (in terms of recruiting) because we want spots for the young guys coming through,'' Carter said.
"Jack and Ricky will be two really important players for us. They have great futures ahead of them. They've both got pace, they're enthusiastic and they've got good skills.
"We're really excited to have both of them on board with us full-time.
"Jack has an incredible motor, he's a running machine that can play on the ball, half-forward or half-back.
"Ricky is similar, we threw him on the ball in one game this year and he was best on ground. He's dangerous in the forward line as well with his pressure and tackling."
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Hickman, Monti, Fitzpatrick and Jacques join a well-established Square core group of midfielders that gives the club as much depth as any in the BFNL.
"Jarrod Fitzpatrick is moving well on the track and looks like he's going to be a player,'' Carter said.
"He's played down in the Northern league in Melbourne and, after a good year with Bridgewater, wanted to play at a higher level again.
"Liam Jacques has come back to the club after playing some really good footy at Bridgewater. He's a really good ball-winner.
"They certainly add some more class and depth to our midfield group."
Carter put the Bulldogs through a month of training prior to Christmas and he was delighted with what he witnessed.
"We had 12 or 13 sessions before Christmas and we averaged about 38 players at training, which I'm pretty happy about for this time of year,'' Carter said.
"The boys were fantastic. They came back in really good condition, they've completed all the fitness sessions really well and we've sent them away with a program to do over our three-week break.
"I'm confident they'll stick to that and be ready to go when we start up again.
"Before Christmas was about building that fitness base, skill development and a strength and conditioning program.
"Our assistant coach Rod Sims is really knowledgeable about the physical education side of things, so he does all our fitness programs.
"It worked really well for us last year, so I didn't see the need to change it up."
Two of the Bulldogs' more experienced players were the standouts on the training track prior to Christmas.
"Jake Thrum and Hamish Morcom are probably our fittest blokes on the training track,'' Carter said
"We're expecting big seasons from them."
Golden Square's 2022 season starts on April 9 against South Bendigo at the QEO.
The club's first home match is a stand-alone clash with Kangaroo Flat on Easter Saturday.
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