hfl1The Standard | IT won’t be the only thing driving North Warrnambool Eagles this year, but last year’s grand final loss still burns with the playing group, according to co-coach Rory Taggert.

But he says the key for the Eagles in going one step further this season and claiming the Hampden senior footy premiership lies in how they use the pain to improve.

“We touch on it (the loss) a bit – we obviously don’t want to dwell on it too much,” Taggert said.

“But I’m sure a lot of players have got that in the back of their minds. It’s really burning them to push hard through the tough sessions.”

I’m sure a lot of players have got that in the back of their minds.
- Rory Taggert

The Eagles are looking to bolster their options through the midfield this season after it proved to be their “main downfall” late last season.

One player in particular has put his hand up to join the midfield rotation over the pre-season, with young talent Sam McKinnon ready to step up again.

The former defender, who vice-captained Hampden’s under 19 interleague squad last year, pushed into the Eagles’ midfield in the latter stages of last season, but was a casualty of more senior players returning from injury and missed out on a spot in the senior grand final side.

“He’s pretty disappointed on being left out of the senior final last year; he’s been working really hard,” Taggert said.

“He just seems like his attitude toward it all has changed completely.”

Taggert said McKinnon has been putting in extra time to build his strength and fitness base, and could play as an inside and outside midfielder.

“From a backman, he’s good in his one-on-one contests, but he’s also a good left-foot kick.”

Taggert said the continued development of the team’s younger talent would help them again be right in the flag hunt.

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