Former Collingwood and Gold Coast ruckman Josh Fraser is flying into Mansfield after signing on as an Eagle.By Damen Francis
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."
A Shepparton man will face court today after being charged with child porn offences.
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.
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Outreach worker Les Twentyman, a local policeman and ERH worker, were among guest speakers at the Rochester and Elmore District Health Service community forum about substance abuse last week.
Over six hours of junior football is scheduled for Kyabram Recreation Reserve this Sunday.
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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).
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