The build-up to the 2019 VFL season continues to gather momentum for Werribee, with three more key players signing last week.
Nick Coughlan was the headline signature of the week, with the former St Kilda-listed key defender signing up for a second season at the club after a strong debut season.
He will be joined at Chirnside Park by Dom Brew and Max Augerinos, who both inked new deals to remain at the club.
Coughlan said he was excited to commit to the club again, especially with former AFL premiership coach Mark Williams taking the coaching reigns.
“It’s good to be back,” the 22-year-old said. “I’m hoping I can get a good pre-season in with all the boys and we can hit season 2019 flying. We were able to string some wins together at the end of the year, so I’m sure we’ll take a lot of confidence from that and build on it for next year.
“We’re all very keen to get to know [Mark] a lot better and see what he brings with all the experience he has, and I’m sure we’ll feed off that.”
After coming through the Murray Bushrangers TAC Cup system, Coughlan has played 41 VFL games across four seasons, including seven with Footscray in 2015 and 19 with Sandringham in his two years with the Saints.
Persistent injuries denied him the chance of an AFL debut, but he bounced back in his first season at Werribee to play 15 games and finish eighth in the club best and fairest as an important key defensive foil for eventual best-and-fairest winner Sam Collins.
Brew, 21, will be looking to further his reputation as one of the league’s best tacklers, with his 149 tackles at almost 11 per game this year placing him second in the competition.
They included an incredible haul of 20 tackles in the wet against Collingwood in round 14.
Augerinos, 21, returned from a ruptured ACL in round 12 this year. But he played just two more games for the season before returning to his local club (St Mary’s) at finals time.
Werribee football operations manager Stuart Balloch said it was pleasing for the club to secure two more of its talented young players, backing Brew and Augerinos to rise to another level in 2019.
“Dom is a hard inside player and brings a very good defensive aspect to our midfield,” said Balloch.
“Tackling is one of his real strengths, but I think he’s still got some development in his game in getting more of the footy, and that will certainly be helped by the opportunity to work with [new playing assistant coach] Mick Barlow, who’s been in the AFL system.
“Coming back from his ACL this year, Max played some really good finals footy with St Mary’s and got some continuity back into his game … he certainly harbours desires to continue to improve and again be a regular fixture for us for 2019.
“He’s someone who can flip into the midfield and also push forward to put some results on the scoreboard for us, so if he can bring the form he did in 2017, it’ll be pretty exciting.”