The Sunbury Lions have strengthened their midfield, signing former VFL star Daniel Toman for next year’s Ballarat Football League season.
Toman, who played a few games for the Lions while he was aligned with the club while playing VFL, has put pen to paper to play with the club full time next season.
He joins the Lions, having played with his junior club Woodend-Hesket in the Riddell District Football League, the last three years.
Toman said it was exciting to return to the Lions. He said he wanted to play at a higher level while he was still in his prime.
“I’ve got some mates at Sunbury and they play at a pretty good standard,” he said.
“I had always planned to come back to Sunbury and if I didn’t do it now, I would have never done it.
“While I’ve still in my prime, I wanted to step back up. I live in Melbourne now, so Sunbury is a bit closer.
“I’m only 27 and I’ve got a few years of football left in me.”
Toman said he enjoyed his time at Woodend but it was time to play at a higher level again. He said the Hawks were disappointed that he was leaving, but understood why.
“I might still go back there at the end of my career.”
Toman said he had spoken to a couple of clubs about making the move for next season, but having been at Sunbury before, it stood out.
“It was the first training session last night and there was a good buzz,” he said.
‘‘I was even more impressed last night with how they were doing things.
“There was 70 to 75 at training, I couldn’t believe it.”
While Toman has been away from the Lions for a few years, he has still kept in touch with many of the players and kept an eye on how things were going.
One of those players is this year’s Henderson Medalist Alik Magin. The two have played a bit of football together at the Lions and at VFL level.
“I also work with him,” he said. “I can’t get away from him.
“I work with a couple of others as well and they are also in my ear. They have been letting me know how Sunbury is going and how Woodend wasn’t going.”
Toman adds to the midfield depth that the Lions have been building. He joked that he might have to come off the bench or play in a back pocket, such was the midfield strength.
He said one reason he picked Sunbury was they looked like they were on the right path.
“I’m hungry to get some success, I haven’t played too many finals,” he said.
Lions coach Travis Hodgson said Toman was probably their biggest signing off the off season.
Hodgson said he didn’t have to do too much work to convince him to rejoin the club.
“He should add to a good midfield already,” he said.
“We’ve relied on two or three midfielders this year, so it’s good to add another player to go through there.”
Toman is the latest player to join the Lions.
Riddell captain Haydn Ross, VFL-listed Tyson Lever and former club best and fairest winner Mathew Medcraft were the first signings for the club.
Tom Cree, who has been a star at East Sunbury, has also joined the club.
Hodgson said they had added a group of players with plenty of experience, that they hoped would help them at the pointy end of the season.
The Lions have also signed Wade Derksen, who has moved from Darwin to Victoria.
Derksen, who is moving to Riddells Creeks, had a number of VFL clubs interested in him.
Hodgson said he was a bit of a project player, but fitted in well with their age demographic.
“He is 6’4 and is only still a kid, he’s 18-years-old. He’s training with Essendon VFL, but we expect to spent a lot of time with us.
“He’s a forward, back, who can pinch hit in the ruck.”