Werribee Tigers have successfully promoted their vision and have lured key recruits for the upcoming Victorian Football League season.
With the re-development of Chirnside Park bringing disruption to training schedules and putting home games on the road, it was never going to be easy for the Tigers to hit their targets in the transfer market.
Given that 27 of the 48 players are new additions to the list – separate from their North Melbourne-aligned players – the Tigers’ recruiting campaign can be judged a success.
Werribee football manager Mark Stone said the campaign was wide-ranging.
“We’re continually building our networks and recruiters to be competitive in the VFL,” he said.
The best example of Werribee’s ability to sell its long-term vision is the signing of 209-centimetre ruckman Kyle Galloway.
The former Sydney Swans-listed big man has committed to the Tigers for the next three years, despite the potential of a logjam in the senior side at the ruck position similar to that he faced during his time in the harbour city.
“We needed our own ruckman, so we made contact and he wanted to come to Melbourne to give it a go,” Stone said.
“He’s a tap ruckman, a good palmer of the ball – he’s got good craft.”
In a two-for-one type of deal, Werribee also landed gun youngsters Louis Pinnuck and Harry Boyd, both out of the Murray Bushrangers.
Pinnuck was the first to sign on with the Tigers and Boyd followed soon after.
“Harry and Louis are very good mates,” Stone said. “So once Louis had signed, Harry said, ‘I want to come too’.”
Pinnuck, an inside midfielder, represented Vic Country at the under-18 national championships last season.
Stone reckons he was “unlucky” not to get drafted to the AFL.
Boyd will settle into a key defensive post. He generated a lot of interest from VFL clubs before joining the Tigers. Isaac Miller, brought in from the Bendigo Pioneers, is sure to catch the eye in the midfield with his speed.
Max Augerinos is a player the Tigers watched closely in his time at the Geelong Falcons.
A defensive midfielder, he trained with Geelong VFL earlier in the summer, but remained unlisted before the Tigers locked him away.
There has also been signings closer to home for Werribee.
The Tigers will have a record intake of Western Jets players with five players already committed – Nick Buykx, Billy Crofts, Jordyn Cotter, Daniel Foley and Tyler Vujanic – while another three are training with the club.
Tigers chief executive officer Mark Penaluna is pushing for better access to Jets graduates living in Wyndham.
“We’re allowed to recruit up to two players who live in Wyndham and any more we’ve got to pay a transfer fee,” he said.
“We believe that we should own the Jets players that live in Wyndham, but they’re tied to Williamstown. AFL Victoria, to their credit, have said they are going to review that.”
Werribee will face Coburg Lions in a practice match at Rams Arena in Craigieburn on Saturday.