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“It’s all going to depend if they still have the hunger.”
That’s how Ringwood Hawks Head Coach Ken Harrington simply summed up his team’s chances of repeating their Big V Championship success of 2012.
The core of last year's championship winning team wil return
With all the celebrations a distant memory, Harrington quickly turned his focus on to 2013 with the hope of keeping that Championship window open for another season.
His first step would be to re-sign the core of the team and Harrington has had spectacular success with all but one Hawk so far not returning to defend the Championship they worked so hard to get.
“After the excitement of last season had drifted away, most of the guys quickly called and decided that while the Championship window is open, we should all try and do it all again.” Harrington said.
Club Legends Willie Weimer and Matt Snowball will again lead the Hawks but the improvement that Harrington thinks his team will need will come from Shaun Clarke and athletic young gun Zac Haig. At 6’8 and as strong as an ox, Clarke is primed to take the next step and establish himself as the Big V’s premier Centre while Haig in only his second season at the top level, will surprise many with his raw athleticism and aggression.
Veterans Luke Egan and Mark Whitehead were tipped by many to retire on a winning note but both have committed themselves to one more season with the Hawks. The influence of these 2 has been invaluable to the younger players who Harrington says get a free basketball lesson at each practice from the wily twosome.
Shooter Michael Steller will again provide instant offence for the Hawks and up and coming stars Max Sutton and Chris Flack will balance Youth League and Championship duties throughout the season.
Popular import Sam Belt, who is now working full time for the Hawks in junior development, had already signed on for 2013, so it was only Skyler Bowlin and Adrien Sturt who the Hawks were chasing to complete their roster.
“Unfortunately Skyler has decided he will spend some time at home after he finishes his Denmark season.” Harrington said.
“He will be hugely missed, he was Grand Final MVP and a great teammate.”
With that disappointment, Harrington will look to sign a replacement in the near future but Adrien Sturt he hopes to have signed on within the next few weeks.
“Adrien is currently playing in London and he would be joining us mid season like he did this year.”
If the Hawks can secure Sturt and an adequate replacement for Bowlin, they will again start the season as favourites in the mind of all Big V fans.
The Hawks will start pre season in mid January and have games planned against Frankston, Geelong and a road trip to Adelaide to play their top State League teams in February.