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Creekers bolster key position stocks

A HOST of emerging young stars and gun recruits will drive Diamond Creek’s campaign in 2017.

The Demons have spent the off-season continuing to develop one of the most exciting lists in Division 2 after this year reaching their first finals series since 2013.

Star duo Jess Cosaitis and Josh Marchbank will both call Coventry Oval home in 2017, bolstering the young side’s key position stocks.

Cosaitis kicked 76 goals for Bonnie Doon in the Ovens and King Football League this year, including two 10-goal hauls and a bag of nine.

Diamond Creek coach Craig Hayes was thrilled to have landed the spearhead after his side was at times bereft of forward options this year – scoring 400 points fewer than any of its top-four rivals in the home and away season.

“Jess is an asset,” Hayes told NFL.org.au.

“He moves really well, he’s six-foot-two, looks like he’s capable in the air but equally as capable on the ground.

“He’s quite dynamic in his movement so we think he’ll be a handful for any defender.

“He’s obviously played a bit of rep footy with the NFL before he went bush for a year or two.

“We’re very excited about what he might bring to us, especially what he’ll add to our forward line which is something we’ve been really crying out for.”

Marchbank (pictured below), who has forged his career as a ruckman, has previously played at Eltham and the Northern Blues’ development side and is a two-time Goulburn Valley Football League representative.

The big man has signed on as a playing-assistant after three years with Benalla.

“Marchbank’s a very, very good ruckman,” Hayes said.

“He’s played TAC, VFL, and the last few years he’s been up at Benalla and played in their losing grand final team, premiership team, and prelim last year.

“A really well-credentialed young man who’s very level headed.”

2016 proved to be a year of great improvement for Diamond Creek after two consecutive bottom-four finishes.

The Demons won their first finals since 2011 in a thrilling first semi against the Fitzroy Stars, before their campaign ended with a preliminary final loss to eventual premier Hurstbridge.

Despite falling short of the grand final, Hayes is proud of what his young and often injury-riddled side produced throughout the 2016 campaign.

“It was a strong year, we probably limped into the finals (but) we were still good enough to win a final, and got beat by the eventual premiers, and certainly in that game we didn’t disgrace ourselves,” he said.

“In the prelim loss, we had 14 blokes under 22. It was a really tremendous effort from the playing group as a whole.”

With his young side this year proving that age is only a number, Hayes is looking forward to the Demons’ young guns developing further next season.

He named Jack Prosser, Tyler Barnes, Danyon Kambouris, Rory Kavanagh and Ty Franks as players who would continue to improve at senior level.

“(Prosser) kicked 30 goals last year playing pretty much as a permanent flanker. We look to Jack to extend his role through the midfield and play both roles,” he said.

“Tyler’s a pretty exciting player for us. Both Jack and Tyler have put on size over the off-season which is good because they needed to.

“I think (Kambouris) is very underrated. He’s a really good kid, his development will be more through the middle now. He’s played a couple of years across the half-back flank, so we’ll look to push him through the middle.

“Rory Kavanagh will go more through the midfield as he’s played more as a forward for the last couple of years, but it’s time for him to challenge himself and prove his endurance.

“Ty Franks is coming out of the under-19s, so we look forward to seeing him. He’s got a fantastic build for a young player and is extremely strong overhead.”

Hayes believes the Demons will continue to develop and learn, particularly from the preliminary final loss to Hurstbridge, ahead of what looks set to be an exciting 2017 campaign.

“We look forward to improving upon that and learning some lessons out of that loss,” he said.

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