Coburg young guns Aaron Clarke and Ben Overman have re-signed with the club for 2022.
It will be the third year at the club for both players who first joined Coburg ahead of the 2020 season.
Clarke kicked eight goals and played in every game in 2021. The 195cm key forward made his VFL debut in Round 1 against Frankston and was one of the Lions’ main targets in the forward line.
The 21-year-old kicked two goals on three occasions and also had a strong game against Geelong at GMHBA Stadium kicking 1.2 and taking six marks.
Overman did not get an opportunity at VFL level in 2021 but was in great form for St Bernard’s in the VAFA.
The 20-year-old was named in the best for St Bernard’s eight times out of 11 games and kicked six goals. He was also named the VAFA’s Rising Star for Round 10 and was one of the five finalists for the annual award.
Clarke said he was looking forward to the 2022 season.
“Glad to be back at the club again, keen to get a full year of VFL footy under the belt with Coburg’s new facilities up and running,” he said.
“[I] think under Sturg we are really building something here, think from 2021 to 2022 we will make the transition from being competitive in most games and losing a lot of close ones, to winning more consistently and executing our brand of footy in all four quarters of the game.”
Overman said the idea of the VFL being able to complete a full season next year was exciting.
“I’m stoked, albeit a compromised season, I think we took many steps in the right direction so I’m really excited to be back with them for another year,” he said.
“It’s a great group of boys and it’s an awesome club, both players, coaches, support staff and volunteers and it’s got a really good homely feel to it.”
Coach Andrew Sturgess said he hopes Coburg becomes Overman and Clarke’s club for years to come.
“Clarkey obviously being a key forward and being a young fella probably had to take on or assume the role of our number one key forward alongside Pete this year, just given our ruck stocks going down and Nath Mullenger-McHugh having to play in the ruck,” he said.
“He really took that in his stride and played his role really well for the team every week.”
Sturgess was also impressed with Overman’s training attitude and thirst for improvement.
“I think sometimes it can be hard when you’re not getting a game or getting opportunity to just go through the motions, and he certainly wasn’t one of them. He trained his heart out every night and he played sensational football at local level,” he said.
“In the end was probably stiff not to get an opportunity and look if we had of played a full season, I have no doubt that he would have played games as well.”