FOR new coach Steve Pretlove, there’s no other footy club he’d rather be at than Border Districts.
Since first pulling on the maroon and gold as a six-year-old, Pretlove has never left the club that his family’s name has been a part of throughout its history.
“For me it’s home,” he said about the club. “The club’s got a lot of history, great family values, great supporters and great people around it.”
Pretlove joked he would be on the outer if he parted ways with the club.
“Dad (club life member Noel Pretlove) said I’d be ‘up the track’ if I ever went anywhere,” he laughed.
Pretlove takes over the coaching role from Andrew Michelmore, after previously being assistant coach a couple of years ago.
Before that he also coached the club’s under 17s.
On the field Pretlove has built his reputation being a tough and fearless competitor, always going for the hard ball and looking out for his teammates.
Now he is coaching he is not sure about where his playing days are at but is focused on taking the club forward.
“I just want to get my head around the football,” Pretlove said. “I want to succeed.”
He has some good help with lively forward Clint Barras and the returning Tim Crick taking on assistant coaching roles.
Crick last played for Harrow Balmoral in the Horsham and District Football League after also spending time at Burra-Booborowie-Hallett in the North Eastern Football League (SA).
“It’ll help me (having them around),” Pretlove said. “Cricky’s played in a couple of leagues now so he’s had experience and ‘Boomer’ (Barras) is just ‘Boomer’.”
The club will be looking to turn around a disastrous 2012 where injuries played a big part in their struggles.
Topping the list, key backman Jarrad Hirst returns to the Eagles after injuring his shoulder in round one last season and missing the rest of the year.
The club has managed to retain most of its players from last year and has attracted some in.
Joining their brother at the club are three more Barras boys - Josh and Trent (who have been playing in Murray Bridge) and Sam (Bordertown).
Another returning player, John Derrington, also finds himself back at Borders after spending time playing in Adelaide.
Borders have also secured the services of big ruckman Jack Jennings from Brighton in the Southern Football League.
Brad Vallance, who while at Bordertown in 2010 was the KNTFL player of the year, will also ply his trade at Frances after coming across from Ouyen United in Victoria’s Mallee Football League.
The focus this pre-season on the track for the Eagles has been fitness as well as building a solid team ethos.
“The focus is on fitness, teammanship and mateship,” Pretlove said. “So far I’ve been happy with numbers and commitment from players.”
Border Districts open their 2013 season at home with a big test against reigning premiers Bordertown.