After re-signing key midfielders in recent weeks, Werribee is turning its attention to retaining its forward line firepower.
The Tigers see Josh Corbett and Brad Xavier as important pillars to build their attack around when the club returns to stand-alone status in the Victorian Football League next season.
The 21 year-olds have committed to the Tigers for a third year.
Tigers coach John Lamont is hopeful that both will get a clear run in 2018 after both struggled last season.
“They just need a bit of luck to get that consistency and then jump into some games,” Lamont said.
He said Corbett’s ability to hit the ball hard in the forward line was a positive for the Tigers, while Xavier was still maturing and had “a really good pair of hands and can kick the ball pretty well”.
After playing just two senior games in his rookie year, Corbett – who stands 190 centimetres tall, but plays taller with his contested marking an asset – took a giant leap forward at the back end of last season with nine games and 13 goals, including the match-winner against Coburg in round 12. The North Warrnambool product was able to shine after shaking off a bout of glandular fever and an ankle injury.
“I had a few injuries and illness, so it was really good for my confidence just to play a lot of games in a row,” Corbett said.
“While we didn’t get any team success for the year, that was my little success for the year.
“It was an enjoyable year as the Travelling Tigers, but it was pretty tough to find facilities and training venues, so we’re really excited about 2018 now we can focus more on the footy.
“There are some very talented names already signed on for next year, so I’m very honoured that I’ll get to play alongside them again.”
Xavier is a genuine key position prospect thanks to his 195 centimetres and vice-like hands.
The former Keilor junior has shown the ability to mix and match roles, be it as a key forward, key defender or even pinch hitting in the ruck.
Xavier was also unlucky in 2017, with a broken hand sidelining him for the first half of the season.
But after some impressive showings in the AFL Victoria Development League, he earned three appearances with the senior team late in the winter.
“For me,  is a bit of a redemption year,” Xavier said. “I felt like I had a really good pre-season and then had the injury in the first game of the year. I feel like I’m ready to take that next step.”
Xavier, of Indian heritage, has taken on a role with AFL Victoria as a VFL multicultural ambassador. He was earmarked as a potential VFL player through the Majak Daw Squad at the Western Jets.
“I never played interleague through my juniors,” he said. “One pre-season at the Western Jets, thanks to the Majak Daw Squad, helped me out a lot.
“Being in a high-end training environment with a lot of talented kids who didn’t have the traditional pathway just makes you want to push to get to that next level.
“It’s a massive credit to all the multicultural development programs.”