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Leitchville-Gunbower signs big names for '13

Leitchville-Gunbower Football Club has signed four big names to the fold as it looks to make a charge for finals next year in the Heathcote and District Football League.

GEORDIE COWAN December 5, 2012 4:04am

Russell Lee.


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Leitchville-Gunbower has put its Heathcote and District Football League rivals on notice with another four signings for 2013, including three stars from Violet Town’s unbeaten Kyabram District Football League premiership side.

Leading the charge is record-breaking forward Craig Whelan, who kicked 152 goals this year, including a record-breaking 34 goals against Ardmona.

Russell Lee, who won the McNamara medal for the KDFL best and fairest award, is a relentless on-baller, and dynamic on-baller Jake Williams was best on ground in the the Towners’ emphatic grand final victory earlier this year.

‘‘We obviously went pretty hard on recruiting already, with seven or eight blokes, but we were keen to get hold of some pretty experienced good quality midfielders and key forwards,’’ Bombers coach Marty Shadbolt said.

‘‘We were a bit lucky because these three blokes are all mates and we were able to get all of them.’’

The Melbourne-based players, who were signed on Monday night, have enjoyed premiership success with Northern Football League club Heidelberg, while Whelan and Lee have also played with Goulburn Valley Football League team Mooroopna.

Determined to push for an inaugural finals spot three years after moving to the HDFL from the Central Murray Football League, the new experienced players are sure to complement the club’s exciting youngsters, who won the under 17 premiership this year.

‘‘We have got a lot of good young kids, so we have aimed to have some more experienced and bigger bodies,’’ Shadbolt said.

‘‘We have already added a few bigger fellas and experience, we just needed a few top-line players to help develop some of these kids.

‘‘They will go a long way into making us a better side and help develop the local players.’’

Sam Hawkins is another newcomer to the Bombers’ line-up after spending 2012 with Loddon Valley Football League club YCW.

The skilful forward was a teammate of Shadbolt at Wycheproof, where he won the medal for best on ground in the Demons’ 2010 premiership.

The club has also re-signed Kade Merlo, whose impact will be similar to that of a new player after missing a lot of last season with a shoulder injury.

The new players add to the likes of Shadbolt, assistant coach Cameron Carter, Jye Keath, Troy Parker, Cam Ross and Ryan Eastman in joining Leitchville-Gunbower for next season.

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