The Coburg Football Club has finalised their playing list for 2018, welcoming 19 new recruits to the 45-man squad.
Of these 19, three have come across from other VFL clubs, including former Williamstown Seagull Tom Condon, former Sandringham Zebra Josh Fox, and former Geelong Cat Josh Guthrie, brother of Geelong AFL’s Cam and Zach Guthrie.
From the TAC Cup, Aidan Tilley and Brad Bernacki, who was runner-up in the 2017 Morrish Medal count, have both joined Coburg after playing for the Calder Cannons, while Marcus Lentini and Harry Nolan were recruited from the Northern Knights and Eastern Ranges respectively.
The club also signed some local and interstate footballers, including East Ringwood trio James Belo, Adam Swierzbiolek (played for Waverley Blues in 2017), and Josh Weightman, nephew of Richmond AFL champion Dale, and Lochie Dickson from Norwood, all in the Eastern Football League.
Other exciting local players to sign with Coburg are Dylan Stone (Wangaratta), Jay O’Donoghue (Corowa-Rutherglen) and Jake Page (Albury) from the O&MNFL, Max Mitchell-Russell (Port Melbourne Colts) from the SNFL, and Jack Murphy (Seymour) from the GVFL.
Former Calder Cannon Tyson Lever, brother of Melbourne AFL recruit Jake Lever, also comes across from Adelaide in the SANFL, while Damon Cramer and Lachie Mitchell have signed from Peel Thunder in the WAFL. The most recent recruit was Josh Guthrie from Geelong VFL.
Some other stats about the 2018 list are:
- Average age is 21 years
- Average height is 186cm
- Average weight is 84kg
- Average VFL games played is 14
Of the 2018 listed players, returning defender and leadership group member Nathan Blair has the most VFL games played with 66, while captain Tom Goodwin, Ryan Exon, Liam Hunt, Nick Mellington, Josh Iacobaccio, Peter McEvoy, and Hish Kerbatieh all look to potentially play their 50th VFL game this season.
Looking at the list, Coach Leigh ‘Patch’ Adams is pleased with the new talent recruited, and looks forward to seeing the new-look Lions in 2018.
“The good thing with young blokes is that they don’t really have any fear; they’ll just play with instinct,” Adams said.
“I’m really looking forward to them all getting out there, seeing the intensity of the practice matches and getting used to that before the season proper, and also to see them playing on some of the best young kids in the AFL system.”
Tom Goodwin, captain for the second consecutive year, is also very excited by the list this season: “we’ve brought in some really good young talent, and some good local talent as well.”
“If we can [put] our best 23 out on the park each week and play as a committed team, then I think we’ll have a good year.”
“I’m really excited about the way the club is heading, and the players that we’ve got.”
General Manager Sebastian Spagnuolo admits some tough calls had to be made regarding the list, but ultimately the club is “as happy as can be with the final 45”.
“I’d like to acknowledge the 35-40 guys that trained with us (in the preseason) trying to earn a 2018 VFL contract with us; their efforts were much appreciated and we wish them all the best for this season,” he said.
“It was hard to bring the list down from 62 players that we had whilst also trying to improve the depth of the list, and there were definitely some young players that had there still been a development league, would have got a VFL opportunity.”
“We feel we’ve been able to improve the spread of experience across all three areas of the ground, but we’re most proud of the fact that out of the 45 players we have, 26 are returning from 2017 which is a step in the right direction following years of 60-65% list turnover.”
GM Spagnuolo also noted the fact the club was able to attract so many players from community football that have already played 50-60 senior games was another positive, and really commends the final 2018 list.
“We want to congratulate our guys for making our 2018 list, and for their efforts throughout the preseason.”
“We can’t wait for them to represent the club in the VFL competition starting with Round 1 on Sunday April 8th v Casey Demons at Piranha Park.”
To join these players in committing to the Coburg Football Club, please commit yourself by purchasing a 2018 membership and help the club grow.
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Image courtesy of Jordan Zmood.