Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Hay to play for the Cats

Former AFL player Jonathan Hay will pull on the jumper for Lockington-Bamawm United next year.

GEORDIE COWAN December 13, 2013 4:04am

Jonathan Hay will play for LBU in 2014.

Lockington-Bamawm United shows no signs of slowing down its momentum in the Heathcote and District Football League after it signed former AFL player Jonathan Hay.

The 2001 All-Australian defender retired from AFL in 2007 after playing 157 games with Hawthorn and North Melbourne, before making a playing comeback with Melbourne club Langwarrin in 2012.

He then played all 18 games for the winless Shepparton Bears this year but crucially established a good relationship with fellow LBU players Nathan O’Brien and Chris and Paul Hudson when training in Melbourne.

‘‘It’s great for the club and the league,’’ LBU coach Ady Dohnt said.

‘‘He has played at the highest level...and he will be great for the young kids to learn off.

‘‘It will be great, even for guys like myself.’’

Dohnt said Hay would be a ‘‘huge bonus’’ for the club and expected the 34-year-old to take up a centre half-back position.

‘‘He is tall and very fit,’’ the coach said.

‘‘He can play a few different roles, but at centre half-back it would free up Dan Lucas to play as an onballer or go forward.’’

Dohnt said part of the attraction to the Cats was a hunger for success, which is something he had not experienced a lot of.

Hay indicated he had two years of football left and Dohnt was hopeful of keeping him for that time.

The signing of Hay only adds to what had been a positive pre-season for the club as it prepared its squad for 2014.

‘‘There is a lot of hard work between now and the start of the season,’’ Dohnt said.

‘‘The (other HDFL) sides have picked up some very handy players.

‘‘We have to raise the bar even more ourselves.’’

The Cats look likely to retain most of their list, but some of the younger players could make an appearance in the VFL.

Jesse Collins has re-signed with Bendigo Gold, while Lachie Collins and Jarod and Trent Bacon are also training with the team in the hopes of securing a spot on their list.

‘‘To have four kids from the one club training for a VFL side shows how good some of our young talent is,’’ Dohnt said.

The club has started its pre-season with more than 20 players on the track, but Dohnt expected more to appear after Christmas.

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