The Sunbury Kangaroos are on the hunt for high quality midfielders after being left behind the eight ball early in preparations for life in Essendon District Football League division 1.
With a couple of departures and a raft of retirements across their seniors and reserves premiership sides, the Kangaroos have been looking to fill some gaps as they head into the higher grade.
Kangaroos coach Anthony Leydin said while it wasn’t ideal, they were still in a good position.
“We’ve had a fair bit of uncertainty,” he said.
“We had recruited last season for division 2 and knew some weren’t suited to division 1. We were expecting a few retirements.
“The positive from all that is that we’re in a strong position financially to make some attractive offers to the right players.“
Leydin said the one area they were still looking to strengthen was the midfield. He said the club was willing to spend some money if they found the right players.
The side has lost best and fairest winner Tie Cuffe and Matt Quigley, who are both set to play elsewhere this season, on top of the retirements.
Leading goalkicker Lachlan Baddeley, Matt Welsh, Christian Monaco and Michael Spooner are among those to retire.
Leydin said they were still unsure on the future of a handful of other players.
“If we can attract two or three top range midfielders, we’ll be in a good spot,” Leydin said.
“We’re happy with who we have brought in and we are looking to bring in a couple of midfielders around 25 years old.
“We don’t want to be making up the numbers and we don’t want to go straight back down to division 2.”
While they are set for a few changes and still looking for a couple of players, Leydin is happy with who they have brought in so far.
Former Collingwood and Hawthorn player Clinton Young headlines the signings.
The AFL premiership player has been playing-coach at Gisborne the last couple of years.
Young won’t play every week due to his assistant coach role with VFL side Williamstown.
“We might get him for nine to 10 games,” he said. “His first priority is Williamstown.
“We’ll look to make the most of his kicking skills and it will be a real benefit for the younger players to play with an AFL premiership player.
“We’re looking forward to having him as we’ve lost a fair bit of experience.”
Diggers Rest premiership player Mark Freeth, Sunbury Lions duo Dylan Caruana and Will Healy, Rupertswood’s Dean Halliwell and Greenvale’s Zach McCasker have also joined the Kangaroos looking for more senior opportunities.
Leydin said Healy and Halliwell had trained the house down before Christmas and staked their claims for a senior spot.
In a bonus for the Kangaroos, they will have nearly a dozen players come up from their under-19 team.
Leydin said they were keen to give these players an opportunity. “We haven’t had that for a long time,“ he said. “We’ll provide some good opportunities for them.”