Charles Sturt University coach Travis Cohalan is eyeing finals after re-signing for a second season in charge of the Bushpigs.
September action this year looks to be slipping away from CSU but Cohalan is confident it can be part of the club's future after re-committing, alongside a number of key players, for season 2022.
Cohalan, assistant coach Wayde Archibald, ruckman Andrew Dickins, Steve Marsden and Scott Barlin have all re-signed for next year.
Cohalan said it was a straight forward decision.
"From a footy and enjoyment point of view, it was definitely straight forward. I've really enjoyed the first year at the club," Cohalan said.
"It's a really amazing club to be apart of. Everyone's welcomed myself, the new boys and my family to the club so I thank them for that but most importantly I've been really impressed by the attitude of the young players at the club.
"They really buy in, they really want to learn, they're very keen to improve themselves and take the extra steps so when you've got a playing group like that, that will pretty much listen and do whatever they're asked to do and ask the right questions, I think there is a lot of potential there and I certainly want to be a part of whatever we can achieve going forward."
The Bushpigs won plenty of admirers with a strong start to the season and have gone on to win five of their 12 games.
Cohalan said he could not fault the effort of the playing group.
"It was a blank canvas in November when I took over. We had a whole new team, I think we had 19 players from the last first grade team CSU had in 2019," he said.
"So we didn't quite know what to expect and there was only a couple of expectations that I put on the group and the main one was that we won't get beat on effort.
"We're 14 rounds into the season and I can honestly assure you the boys haven't thrown in the towel once. We've been on the end of a couple of big losses but that was more based on talent, footy IQ, execution, not effort.
"Execution wise and talent wise, we've probably got a little way to go, but we certainly have the potential there to improve those aspects. I've really been very excited by what the young group this year has been able to achieve and certainly I think there is promising signs to come."
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A priority for Cohalan is adding some experience around his young squad, to join the likes of Archibald, Dickins and Grant Daly.
Some key position players are also on the wish-list.
"I think every club wants to play finals so if we can add a few, we're pretty confident we'll be able to keep the majority of our list from this year," he said.
"All the boys are pretty keen, a fair few have signed on already and we've got verbal agreements from the majority of the rest of the list so that made my decision pretty easy as well. I wanted to hang around and help as long as everyone else was going to be committed.
"I think as long as we can add the two or three key position players and also the experienced players we're chasing, I'd hope we can move from sixth into the five."
CSU will host The Rock-Yerong Creek at Peter Hastie Oval on Saturday as both teams look to return to form.
The Bushpigs will be without Victorian-based pair Gus Blackwood and Dom Smith, along with Steve Marsden (hamstring).
"Finals are still mathematically a possibility but we're not really concerned about that, we're more concerned, our last performance. We got beaten by 110 points so we're more interested in showing a better performance on the field this week," he said.
"Breaking each week down for the rest of the season, we've still got four games to go, three of those are against teams in the top five. We haven't been able to beat a team higher than us on the ladder all year so there's the challenge for us.
"We've got a good opportunity to test ourselves this week. But we're obviously aware of the fact The Rock are a good footy side and are going to be smarting after letting go a big lead last week."
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