Tullamarine hasn’t wasted any time adding to its list, announcing a number of off season signings headed by former AFL player Anthony Franchina.
The club announced the signing of Franchina, who played 105 games for Carlton, on Monday night. Since leaving the AFL, the now 40-year-old has played at a number of different clubs most recently Eaglehawk in the Bendigo Football League.
Demons coach David Connell said the signing of Franchina was the final piece of the puzzle for the Essendon District Football League division 1 club.
“We tried to get in a lot of younger blokes in first,” he said.
“Anthony is a good fit for the club. We lost a little bit of experience and leadership with some guys retiring the last couple of years.
“We think he can be a guy who is a link between the field and the coach’s box. He’s really well spoken and a terrific leader who has that calmness in games.”
Franchina joins a number of other players who will call Tullamarine home next season.
Ryan Pretty, who played at the Demons a couple of seasons ago, will strengthen the forward line, while Mark Maric, brother of former AFL player Ivan Maric, adds some height.
Connell said having Maric would allow Adam Scott to play more as a forward adding extra height to the forward 50.
Scott missed this year with injury.
Hadfield premiership player Steven Vocale and Essendon Doutta Stars premiership player Anthony Prestia join the club, along with Luke Micallef and Luke Hampshire.
Callum Strugnell, Matt Burns and Alessio Gobbo and Sean Doyle all return to the club, having not played their this year.
Anthony Liberatore, who played just five matches this year due to VFL commitments, will be available for more games with the abolishment of the VFL development competition.
Connell, who joined the Demons in the off season, said they had made a real focus on recruiting players for next season, one to strength the senior team and secondly, to provide more depth at the club.
“Our twos have battled for depth,” he said.
“We were ringing guys on Thursday nights to get them to play. We didn’t want to be in the same situation.
“We got a bit of jump of other clubs and wanted everything wrapped up by the start of November.
“The squad will be in the low 50s heading into round one.”
While the club has added several players, they’ve lost two-time reigning best and fairest winner Jack Sims and Robert Nikolic have returned to St Albans.