Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Mansfield signs AFL ruck maestro Josh Fraser

Former Collingwood and Gold Coast ruckman Josh Fraser is flying into Mansfield after signing on as an Eagle.

DAMEN FRANCIS December 14, 2012 4:05pm

Mansfield coach Fraser Stevenson said the signing of Josh Fraser is a big move for the club.

Mansfield is the latest Goulburn Valley Football League club to unveil a bumper new recruit this off-season, with the signing of former Collingwood and Gold Coast ruck maestro Josh Fraser.

The announcement was made at Mansfield Recreation Reserve this afternoon, where the 30-year-old will serve as playing assistant coach next year.

The Eagles faced competition from GVFL rival Shepparton, Ovens and Murray club North Albury and Murray Football League club Tocumwal for his signature, but the lure of returning to play in his home town sealed the deal for the former Murray Bushranger.

‘‘I was lucky enough to speak to a few clubs and that was a process I wanted to go through ... but, I made it clear to them they were always competing against the go-home factor at Mansfield,’’ Fraser said.

‘‘The further the process went the more it made sense for me to come back.

"I've played 13 years at that higher level, so clearly my best footy days are behind me, but to come back and play while just out of the AFL system is great.

"But, I think my head space is more into developing players, so that will be my main focus."

Fraser was taken at pick one of the 1999 national draft and played 200 AFL games for Collingwood before joining Gold Coast last year.

He retired at the end of this season after making 18 appearances in two years for the Suns.

At 202cm Fraser is expected to form a formidable partnership with fellow Eagles big man Mark Jones in the ruck and spend time forward as a marking target.

His role as assistant coach will include managing Mansfield’s Melbourne-based training at Gosch’s Paddock.

Eagles coach Fraser Stevenson said the signing was a major coup for the club and the league.

‘‘He is going to be a great leader and role model for us on and off the field,’’ Stevenson said.

‘‘Kids coming through, not only our under 18s, but all our junior ranks - to see a type of player like Josh that has been a number one draft pick and played 200 games, it is proof in the pudding they can do that too.’’

"He is only (30), he's going to bring a lot to the table as a player."

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