Benalla playmaker stays with Goulburn Valley Football League club after contemplating Queanbeyan move.By Marc McGowan
The belief wooden-spooner Benalla will be a competitive force this year was enough to convince reigning best-and-fairest Alistair Jacka to re-sign with the Saints.
The interleague playmaker was in the middle of a tug-of-war between Benalla and North East Australian Football League eastern conference club Queanbeyan.
Queanbeyan’s website had already trumpeted Jacka’s signing before he changed his mind this week.
Brook Martyn, brother of fellow Saints Sam and James, has also committed.
New Benalla playing coach Luke Morgan, a former VFL star, said Jacka was his club’s one ‘‘proven A-grader’’ and the senior side was better for his presence.
‘‘It was all about becoming good mates with Al, really, and that’s what I believe has kept him here,’’ Morgan said.
‘‘The footy club has offered him enormous support the last couple of months and has been willing to help him out.
‘‘We’ve put a lot of effort into Al and he trained really well last night and it’s great news for us.’’
Morgan said he always maintained a ‘‘glimmer of hope’’ and the presentation of the Saints’ likely best 21 this year sealed the deal.
‘‘We presented a side to him and he believes that side is competitive with most of the Goulburn Valley competition — barring the top two sides,’’ he said.
‘‘He believes that and we fully believe our side is competitive. Our goal is to finish fifth or sixth (on the ladder).
‘‘That is a big goal, but guys like (ex-AFL player) Lachie Smith, Brook Martyn, Jordan Daniel, Sam Martyn and Nick Warnock, who has put on a fair bit of weight, are potential A-grade GV players by the end of the year.’’
Morgan said a mixture of them with himself, Jacka, Sam Martyn, Shayne McKean, James Martiniello, James Dalton, Jake Pallpratt, Harry Moran, Pat Hide and Jordan Wolff was the nucleus of a successful team.
He said Jack Ellis would be Benalla’s primary ruckman, with Jayden Guppy likely to settle into a key defensive post.
‘‘Over pre-season we’ve been hammering in game-sense drills and the guys are starting to click and get it,’’ Morgan said.
‘‘There will be ups and downs through the season as a young side and I’m not going to shy away from them, but we could produce some very good games, too.
‘‘The top teams, like (Shepparton) United, Tatura and Rochester, are still fairly strong, then I believe we’ll be competing against the middle rung of sides.’’
Morgan said the Saints’ season-opener against Euroa was ‘‘a must win and a big game for us’’.
Caleb Marchbank, Nick Mellington, David Mennen, Tom O’Brien, James Martyn and Brodie Webster made the cut for the Murray Bushrangers in other good news for Benalla.
The Saints play practice games at Benalla Showgrounds against Wangaratta Magpies (Saturday, March 9), Wangaratta Rovers (Friday, March 15) and Lavington (Friday, March 22).
A Tamleugh North farmer has described the theft of four sheep fences from his tornado-damaged property ''a low act''.
Most people at the J C Lowe Oval left on Saturday evening talking about the game but not the result. Pigeon Coach Chris Kennedy summed up the feeling adequately when he said after the game; “it was a frustrating game, but my players weren’t responsible for the frustration.”
The move to extend the Tatura War Memorial area and honour Victoria Cross hero Robert Mactier with the erection of a statue in the Hogan St gardens named in his honour, continues.
A Kyabram man who struck a cyclist on Echuca-Moama bridge with a beer can thrown from the vehicle he was in was convicted and fined $400 in Moama Local Court on Wednesday.
A Rochester mother told a health forum about the devastating effect drugs have had on her family.
Over six hours of junior football is scheduled for Kyabram Recreation Reserve this Sunday.
Ten people were injured after Two Australian Light Armoured Vehicles (ASLAV) collided during a training course at the Puckapunyal Military Training Range in on Wednesday, May 22.
The Finley Apex Sports and Community Centre has secured a $500,000 grant from Regional Development Australia.
A purpose-built bike, equipped with amateur radio, will be on the O'Keefe Rail Trail tomorrow.
Cobram residents John Anderson and Ian Cobb will race down memory lane this weekend when they compete in the annual Historic Winton.
Deniliquin Fire and Rescue's open day has been hailed a success by captain Bill Muirhead.
The Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) is investigating incidents of abortion or still-births under the Lamb and Kid Mortality Surveillance Project.(LKSMP).
Discover unbelievable local deals from local businesses every week in the Goulburn and Murray Valley area with Leapon.com.au!
Search properties for sale or rent across North Central Victoria and Southern NSW. Visit your local website for local homes....
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.