Werribee’s preparations for its first standalone VFL season in nearly two decades continues to build, with two key re-signings last week.

Jake Sharp and Matthew Munro have both put pen to paper for the 2018 season, after both former Murray Bushrangers’ enjoyed breakout seasons this year.

Sharp, 22, has been limited to just 27 VFL games in four seasons following a horror run of injuries that included a knee reconstruction in 2015 and a broken leg in 2016, but he took a big step forward this year in making 12 senior appearances despite a limited pre-season and a rib injury sustained midway through the season.

He said the chance to play consistent senior footy this year gave him more confidence in his body ahead of pre-season.

“It was just really good to get through the year without any major injuries coming off two knees in two years and the amount of time spent on the sidelines,” he said.

“I was rapt to play as many senior games as I did, and I’m extremely excited to get a pre-season in where I’m fully fit and can build on the year that I’ve had on the park.”

Munro, 22, was one of the Tigers’ most improved players this year, playing 17 out of 18 games and averaging a goal a game.

He said some honest discussions with coach John Lamont saw him start to realise his potential.

“At the end of the 2016 season, I had a good chat with John about some of the areas I needed to improve on to play some more consistent footy at the highest level,” Munro said.

“It was pretty honest, and it helped me work on what I needed to improve on. I went away in the off season and worked on those things and put them into practice this year, and I was lucky enough to play most of the season.

“Now, it’s probably just a matter of trying to take it to the next level and become more of a leader inside the footy club and just play a bigger role.”

Lamont said the retention of senior players was a big focus for the club as it looks for success in its first standalone season in the league for 19 years.

“It’s really positive from that perspective, and we’re really hopeful that our retention, with the change in direction of our club, will produce more players that are staying on for four and five years,” he said.

Werribee has now re-signed 11 players ahead of the new season, including captain Michael Sodomaco, Tom Gribble and Nick Buykx.