The Sunbury Lions have announced the first of their new signings, as a number of key players have put pen to paper to stay at the club.
After losing four stars early in the preseason, it’s been all positives for the Lions since then.
Lions’ coach Ben Jordan said they were slowly re-signing most of their playing group.
Skipper Andrew Duahu and gun midfielder Alik Magin headline the players staying at Clarke Oval.
They are joined by Grant Valles and Alec Goodson who are expected to play major roles in the Lions forward line, Dwain Sanderson, Jacob Bygate, Joel and Dean Muir, Nathan Bridgland, Tristan Lenaz, Roger Allen, Will Healy and Jack Hannett.
Lachie Bramble, who is aligned with Williamstown in the VFL, will play with the Lions when available, while Jayden Eales, who had been aligned with Williamstown, will just be with the Lions next season in a big boost.
Jordan said Eales will get a shot at the ruck spot left vacant with David Kovacevic leaving the club.
“He’s very different to Kova,” he said.
“He’s still learning the craft and is a good tap ruckman, Hopefully he’ll relish the responsibility.”
As well as signing a large part of the playing group, the Lions have added three young stars.
Aaron Christensen, a Lions junior player, returns to the club, while Liam Berry has crossed from Rupertswood.
Jordan said both would be massive assets.
“Both are local boys and are well known around Sunbury and have a lot of friends at the club,” he said.
“Liam had hip surgery this year and didn’t play, but he’s got back to fitness.
“Aaron has played at a higher level at VFL and TAC Cup and is fresth from a flag with Macedon.
“Both give us a bit of run, leg speed and they are players with the ability to kick.”
Jiaya Mitchell, another from Rupertswood, has also joined the club. He took out the 2016 Riddell District Football League under-18.5 best and fairest award.
Jordan said they were still talking to a few more guys and expecting a few guys to step up to try and fill the roles left vacant by Adam Short, David Kovacevic, Tom Donoghue and Ben Said joining St Albans.
He admits the four players who have left aren’t readily replaceable.
“The way we play we have some options to try and fill gaps,” he said.
“We didn’t see a lot of Adam this season. Our back line did a remarkable job led by, Tristan Leanz and McDonough, but we would like to get in another key position player.
“Tom was really consistent in the middle and there’s number of guys who will relish a crack at his role.
“Ben kicked 35 goals but struggled a little later in the year when teams worked out our game plan. We think we have a few guys who can crumb goals and we’ll hopefully have Grant and Alec up there more.”