KOONWARRA L/RSL has certainly maintained their momentum off the back of an A2 premiership over the offseason.

Ben Perry, a former superstar junior cricketer, has returned to the club from Casey-South Melbourne to captain the A1 side, and Isuru Anushka has arrived as senior coach.

With the excitement levels at an all-time high, president John Manicaro said the preseason has been one to remember.

“We just can’t wait for the season to start, it’s been the longest preseason we’ve ever had,” Manicaro said.

“Everyone’s really looking forward to it.

“We had a really good year last year and we’re in a great place this year – we’ve got plenty of numbers.”

He also said the new coach Anushka has brought a positive dynamic to the club.

“He’s worked really hard to improve everyone, no matter if you’re an under 14s young kid or an A Grader, he’s prepared to give up his time and work with them.”

Steve Hammill will be a sore loss on and off the field, but Manicaro expects youngsters like Harry Hoekstra, Billy Manicaro, Callum Buckland, Kayden Scrimshaw and Josh Thomas to improve significantly.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing some of the young boys grow a little bit more, and they’ll be given opportunities to play in higher grades.”

The B1 side finished sixth last season; their C1 team was eliminated in the semi-finals and their two C2 sides finished seventh and eighth, so they’ll be hoping to improve like the A Graders.

Their junior numbers are very strong as well, with the club now boasting an Under 17s, Under 15s, Under 12s and Woolworths Blast programs.

And Manicaro was also happy to report there’s a big female presence in the senior and junior teams.

In conjunction with the league and Nerrena, they’ve got a new pitch to play on at the Leongatha Velodrome.

And they’re also working with Mary Mackillop Catholic Regional College to get their ground ready to play on as well.

All signs are pointing towards another successful year for Koonwarra and the fact they’re the only club to have five senior sides is a pretty good testament to their strength.

It’s always interesting to see how the A2 premiers fare in A1, and if they continue their momentum, they’re going to be right in the finals mix again.

• Senior Coach: Isuru Anushka.

• A Grade Captain: Ben Perry.

• Key recruits: Ben Perry (Casey-South Melbourne), Isuru Anushka (Lalor).

• Key departures: Steve Hammill.

• 2020/21 A2 finish: Premiers (Promoted).

• 2020/21 leading batsman: Sam Hughes (44.29 avg).

• 2020/21 leading bowler: Sam Sperling (23 wkts at 4.96).