Thomastown is thrilled with what its recruits can do on field, but it’s what they can do off field that could be the biggest benefit for the Northern Football League division 2 club.

The Bears set themselves a few key areas to address as they looked to improve on two straight fourth place finishes.

One area they were focused on improving was their on-field leadership, with new coach Mario Bandera feeling they had done exactly that.

“We sat down and spoke about the areas that we wanted to improve,” he said.

“Leadership was part of it. We wanted to add that bit of experience and add some value. To land three targets, these guys will give us something on field and give us plenty off-field.”

Former North Heidelberg premiership winning captain Daniel Bramich,  forward Todd Hughes and former VFL star Tim Totevski have all joined the Bears

Bandera said they were thrilled to have those three on board.

Bramich is the latest signing announced as he looks for a new challenge. Bramich has captained North Heidelberg the last three seasons, including to the 2017 division 2 premiership.

“Daniel is pretty significant for us,” he said.

“He can play multiple roles within the team and a major positive is his experience and leadership.

“We can see why he was captain and is a natural leader and uses his voice.

“He has some motivation to prove some people wrong.”


Daniel Bramich. Picture Nathan William Media

Bandera said once thing was Bramich he had been involved with clubs that know how to win.

As well as success at North Heidelberg, he has been part of Rivergum’s cricket team which has played off in eight straight grand finals.

Hughes comes to the Bears from Bundoora, where he played in their reserves premiership last year and their senior premiership in 2017. He has had success at Lalor previously.

Totevski hasn’t played football the last couple of years, having previously been in the leadership group at the Northern Blues.

At 26, he still has plenty of football ahead of him.

Tyla Burrow has also joined the Bears from Bundoora. Bandera said Burrow was after more opportunities.

“Tyla wasn’t getting senior level games consistently,” he said.

“The footage we’ve seen and at training, we’ve seen a lot of things and you can see that he has played a bit of division 1 football.

“He’s a silky half back flanker, who can move onto the wing as well.”

The Bears are hopeful of adding another two signings to their list in the coming weeks.

On the other side, Dylan Chapman and Jacob Osei-Duro are the two biggest names out.

Bandera said it would be hard to replace Chapman, with the ruckman named in the team of the year the past two years.

“Ruckman are hard to find and Chapman has left big shoes to fill.

“We thought we had one, but it fell through. We may look to go a bit younger and develop a long term prospect.”

Bandera said it had been an enjoyable first pre-season at the Bears.

“It’s good being back in the NFL,” he said. “It’s been a couple of years.

“I’ve got my passion back.”