Like all footy clubs, Bundoora looked to the off season as a chance to add some depth and strength to its playing list.
But a few surprise departures and a bit of luck has meant the division 1 club will start the Northern Football League season stronger than anticipated.
Kris Bardon, a competition best and fairest winner in the Nepean and Eastern football leagues, is the latest signing.
Football manager Roy Vogles said the club hadn’t planned on adding as many new faces as it has.
“We had a few guys leave who we didn’t think would leave,” he said.
“[But] We had three guys from Lalor come to us wanting to play. The calibre of those players was a bonus.”
Todd Hughes and Scott Dowell, have moved across from the Bloods.
Hughes won the division 1 leading goalkicker award in 2015 and kicked 63 goals last season.
Vogles said Hughes and Dowell, as well as new recruit Daniel Younan (an Essendon VFL-listed player) will benefit the forward line and help take the pressure off veteran Gary Moorcroft, who has played a lone hand up there in recent years.
“Todd has history [with kicking goals] at Lalor and isn’t a flash in the pan … we think he’s able to step up to this level and will benefit from the better delivery.”
The third Bloods player to move across is Blake Seeley, a ruckman who could find a new home in the backline. The Bulls have plenty of ruck options, including reigning Frank Rosbrook medallist Matthew Dennis.
The Bulls have also added some much-needed midfield depth with players who are proven at the higher level.
Nathan Thomas, who comes from VFL club Coburg, is one of those players.
New playing-coach Ricky Dyson also returns after missing last year as one of the 34 Essendon players suspended by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
Vogles said Dyson was raring to return to the field and had thrived in his new role.
He’s been assisted by his cousin, Paul Harris, who previously coached Ivanhoe in the Victorian Amateur Football Association.
Dyson though will have some tough decisions come the start of the season.
“We’ve got some fairly strong depth, which we haven’t had the last couple of seasons,” Vogles said. “The other players who have come on board mean we’re really strong all over.”
The Bulls, who were knocked out in the semi-finals last season, have lost Trent and Troy Barbero, and believe they’ve lost Kent Delbridge and Willis Flanders.
The Bulls start their season on April 8 against Heidelberg.