St Albans has pulled off the recruiting coup of the Western Region Football League off-season, snaring former West Coast Eagles premiership star Daniel Kerr for the 2018 season.
Kerr, an Australian international rules representative, an All Australian and an AFL life member, will play exclusively for the Saints next season after a deal reached this week.
New Saints coach Brad Murphy told starweekly.com.au that Kerr’s signing would have major benefits for a club that wants to return to its powerhouse status.
“There’s two components to this, the on field and the off field,” Murphy said.
“The on field probably speaks for itself.
“He’s a 220-game AFL player, he’s won a premiership, he’s a life member, he’s an All Australian, he’s done everything in football that you can basically do.
“He’s as fit as a fiddle still, his running capacity is really high – he had 57 possessions in a game last year at local level.
“So he’s still going to find the footy and he’s going to demand that a good player either tags him or plays on him.”
Kerr’s impact has already been felt off the field.
Since the 34-year-old signed on, St Albans has been inundated with calls from local businesses wanting to be involved with the club next season.
There is genuine buzz of excitement in the Saints camp that hasn’t been felt in years.
“Off field, we’re going to get a lot of benefit as well,” Murphy said.
“The extra sponsorship dollars have already started pouring in over the past 24 to 48 hours since he’s announcement to our members and sponsors.”
Kerr still lives in Perth and will commute to Melbourne for games.
But the midfielder is expected to play over 75% of the team’s games, staying in Melbourne for three-to-four game blocks at a time.
Kerr will be doing a lot of work in the community, too.
“It’s also a lot of stuff he’s doing off the field with his charity and helping a lot of disadvantaged young Aboriginal children, which he’s going to promote a lot within the club and we can help him promote that,” Murphy said.
“He’s going to take a lot of junior training nights, he’s going to go out to our sponsors and have lunches and dinners, he’s going to do sportsman’s nights and I can tell you a lot of big names are going to be coming down to Kings Park next year.
“The dollars he can generate through sponsorships, functions and spectators far outweighs the wage we’re going to be paying.
“We’re rapt and he’s rapt as well, it’s a really good fit.”
St Albans revealed a swag of new signings on Thursday night, including Kerr, who sent a video message to the playing group and the supporters outlining his excitement to be joining the club.
“I’m really looking forward to playing full time with the St Albans Saints,” Kerr said.
“I’ve heard there’s some really strong recruiting going on and the appointment of a new coach.
“I’m really excited, looking forward to getting nice and fit for the preseason, as I hope all you are, and catching up with you all in the coming year.”