Point Cook has shaken up the Western Region Football League division 2 competition with an eye catching recruiting spree.
The Bulldogs have landed one of the biggest fish in the league, securing the signature of former Hoppers Crossing ruckman Wayde Skipper.
Skipper, who played 60 games at the top level, 45 with the Western Bulldogs and 15 with Hawthorn, and was part of the 2011 Port Melbourne VFL premiership team, has been one of the best big men in the WRFL for a long time, peaking with a Barry Priest Medal for division 1 best-and-fairest in 2015.
Skipper is just one of a host of new faces to arrive at Saltwater Reserve next season, making the new team to the senior competition a force from day one.
“We’re going OK with recruiting, we’ve done well so far,” Point Cook coach Ian Denny said.
“Wayde was a pretty good get for us.
“He came down and met with us and we talked to him about our short term and long term ambitions and he was all over it, pretty excited about it, so he’s looking forward to it.”
Skipper was wooed to Point Cook by new assistant coach Brett Jacobs.
Jacobs was a coach of Skipper for the WRFL interleague games and the pair struck up a friendship.
Skipper’s impact on the Bulldogs will be more than just on field.
The 34-year-old will be entrusted to provide leadership to the team, in particular the young tall players such as ruckman Andrew Robinson and key forward Alex Grigg.
“It will be a good opportunity for guys to spend some time with him on and off the ground and see the way he goes about it,” Denny said.
“He was a Barry Preist Medal winner only a couple of years ago, so you’re talking about a premier player in the competition.
“We think he’s going to bring a whole lot of stuff and he’s a good fella too, a knockabout sort of a bloke, so he’ll assimilate well with the club and the young fellas.”
Point Cook is excited with its new-found midfield depth. Recruits Jessi Lampi, Sean Curtis and Matthew Poland will be vying for spots in a strong engine room.
“We hope to be strong through the midfield which will give us strong peripheral players through the flanks and wings,” Denny said.
Just as important for Point Cook was its player retention.
All required players have stuck with the Bulldogs since their move from the Victorian Amateur Football Association to the WRFL.
“Virtually all the players from last season have committed for next year,” Denny said.
“Both Robbie [Milne], who won the best and fairest, and Mason [Kip], who won the three best and fairests before that, are back on board.
“It’s a good mixture of new and old.
“It’s a club that people want to come and play for.”
Point Cook is also working hard to get a women’s team off the ground.
The Bulldogs will also bridge the gap been junior and senior men’s teams with an under-19 team.
Denny is thrilled to see the Bulldogs implementing both teams for next season.
“It gives the club a better pathway having the U19s, so we’re pretty excited with that team,” he said.