Shepparton United’s feared defensive unit just got that bit stronger.By Marc McGowan
Shepparton United’s feared defensive unit just got that bit stronger.
Ex-Demons defender David Gillespie is back at Deakin Reserve after winning two Picola District Football League south-east division premierships with Shepparton East.
Nathalia wingman Ash Quinn and Katandra midfielder Dan O’Reilly, who won two of the Kats’ past three best-and-fairest awards, complete United’s latest trio of signings.
They join hulking forwards Jason Eagle and Justin Carey as the Demons’ additions since the Goulburn Valley Football League season finished in September.
O’Reilly, 29, and ex-AFL player Tim Looby will be coach Marc Quarrell’s chief assistants and will guide United’s pre-season direction.
‘‘They’re all local boys from around the area and ‘Dizzy’ (Gillespie) is coming back,’’ Quarrell said.
‘‘He is a United boy and played a lot of footy here and played in a lot of premierships since he’s been away, but he’ll get his 100 games by coming back, which is really good.’’
Gillespie is not the only former Demon back, with six-time Lightfoot Medal-winning cricketer Chris Keady also returning to his football roots as the club’s reserves coach.
Keady replaces Matt Mahony, who is coaching Tallygaroopna’s senior side next season.
Quarrell said his former Purples teammate Quinn brought a prodigious left boot and line-breaking ability with him and predicted O’Reilly to spend time down back and up forward.
They will help ease the midfield load on 2010 best-and-fairest winner Shaun Huy and captain Sam Dawes.
‘‘We’ve gone and recruited players, but those boys who played last year, it’s their position to lose,’’ Quarrell said.
‘‘Everyone has to earn their spot and we didn’t have that last year.
‘‘We didn’t have enough people putting pressure on, but we’ve got that this year and that makes for a healthy club.
‘‘That’s not just about the seniors. That goes for the reserves as well. We want to get that playing group up. We want to have a big focus on our reserves group, too.’’
Quarrell said Looby, who is set to become a father for the first time, had a ‘‘terrific football brain’’ and lauded O’Reilly as ‘‘professional’’.
He said Matt Forys was still weighing up his future, but expected the veteran forward to play again next year.
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