Leitchville-Gunbower has recruited seven Melbourne-based footballers for season 2014.LUKE MCMANUS February 20, 2014 4:04am
High player prices has forced Leitchville-Gunbower to seek the services of seven Melbourne-based recruits for the 2014 Heathcote and District Football League season.
Senior coach Marty Shadbolt, entering his second season at the helm, said district footballers with steep price tags had coerced the Bombers into casting their net further south for metropolitan players who were willing to travel.
Surrounding leagues are also making life tough for the Bombers, with many cashed-up clubs swooping on the already limited pool of available talent.
‘‘We’ve found it extremely hard to recruit blokes locally and around the Bendigo area,’’ Shadbolt said.
‘‘The problem is there are so many leagues around this area and not enough players to go around.
‘‘The prices on players that are available are overly inflated and (we) already pay good money to get (reserves) players.
‘‘We’re finding quality players out of Melbourne for half the price.
‘‘It’s not ideal in regards to training but you will find most country sides have blokes out of Melbourne, that’s just the way country footy is right now.’’
Among the new players are Panton Hill pair Simon Amore and Abe Williams (brother of Leitchville-Gunbower’s Jake Williams), while Eltham loses Ryan Hocking and 2013 best and fairest winner Brad Perry.
Steve Pretty, 2013 runner-up best and fairest at Pascoe Vale in the Essendon and District Football League, will also make the weekly trip north, along with Banyule and Vic Metro representatives Bartholomew Walsh and Jake Truefeldt.
Shadbolt said Hocking and Pretty were key position players while the others would bolster the club’s midfield stocks.
‘‘We lacked depth last season and battled with a few injuries so we’ve targeted players to fill certain roles for us,’’ the coach said.
‘‘They’ve all played a good standard of footy down (in Melbourne) and we’re keen for them to get a taste for country footy and what it’s all about.
‘‘I think everyone is hungry for a bit more success after getting a taste for it last season.
‘‘We under achieved last year but we think we’ve recruited the right blokes to mix it with the top sides.’’
The Bombers have signed at least one local, with Wakool premiership player Lee Pollock joining the club, while Joel Helman (Bendigo Pioneers) and Will Brereton (Assumption College) have committed to full seasons after an interrupted 2013.
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