AFTER his club's horror year in 2012, Knox Falcons coach Jon Knight is buoyant about the coming Eastern Football League division 1 season.
The Falcons haven't picked up too many key recruits during the off-season but after losing three top players to serious injuries in the early rounds of last season, the team will get back Scott Davis, Reyne Harris and Patrick O'Keefe.
Combined with securing the full services of Andrew Clifford from VFL club Box Hill, Knight is excited about the Falcons' chances this season.
"We had five guys not even play a game last season, it was really a shocking run with injuries," he said. "After we lost Davis, Harris and O'Keefe, they never played another match so we will have them all back and they are raring to go.
"Clifford will be good and we have a lot of players around that 21 year old mark who look quick and exciting."
The Falcons will have to reorganise their forward line after the loss of key forward Jarrod Clark to division 2 club Croydon, while big man Ryan Jeffrey has taken on a playing assistant coach role with leading MPNFL club Sorrento.
Knight admitted he was surprised to lose both players but hoped Jeffrey may return.
"Jeffrey wanted to play in grand finals and get some coaching experience away from the club, while Clark has mates at Croydon."
Knight is also pushing his players hard to improve their goalkicking and fitness. "Without Clark and Jeffrey we will have to set up a bit differently. But we will also have to kick straighter. Our conversion rate last year killed me, so almost every drill we do involves some goalkicking."
The Falcons have booked pre-season matches against Cobram in Cobram, against MPNFL club Langwarrin and fellow EFL division 1 side South Croydon.
The EFL division 1 season begins on April 13. The Falcons host Blackburn in their first match.