Mooroopna Cats will have five new additions to their roster in the upcoming season, including 'ferocious' centre half-forward Daniel Lewis.By Marc McGowan
Mooroopna football officials finally let the cat out of the bag yesterday.
Rookie Cats coach Blake Campbell, with his excitement obvious, unveiled five star recruits who should ensure the club’s spot in the Goulburn Valley Football League premiership mix again.
Ex-AFL player Jason Roe will slot comfortably into centre half-back — giving Mooroopna the height it has so often lacked in defence — while his Northern Territory Thunder teammates Karl Lohde, Iggy Vallejo and Jake Dignan could all be in the midfield at certain stages.
Roe, a 50-game Brisbane Lions player, will miss the start of the season recovering from a minor ankle operation.
But it is ‘‘ferocious’’ centre half-forward Daniel Lewis who looms as the best of the lot.
The lightly framed Lewis, a former Peel Thunder WAFL player who has represented Western Australia (three times) and Queensland, is well known for his vertical leap and pack-crashing ability.
That entertaining style and his dreadlocks are sure to quickly make him a cult figure at Catland.
Campbell has been chasing Lewis’ signature since his brother and former Mooroopna coach Brad was a Queensland assistant at the Australian Country Football Championships at Wagga Wagga last July.
Lewis, 29, last played for Cairns City Lions, where he also coached one of the club’s junior sides.
‘‘We’ve actually got him to move across to Mooroopna with his missus from living on the beach in Bunbury and they’ve both got full-time jobs,’’ Campbell said.
‘‘It’s pretty surreal we’ve got this bloke .
‘‘He runs really well, takes a really good grab and is really ferocious. The one thing that really impressed Brad was he tackled so well.’’
The big-name signings come on top of the Cats’ pre-Christmas recruits Mitch Keddell — another former Peel Thunder player — and Rob Osborne, Kane Boyer and Joe Sullivan, who return from Cobram.
Campbell said the club’s newcomers would compensate for losing Wayne Patak, Michael Roberts, captain Nathan Tweddle, Jordan Souter, Justin Dorward, Spiro Vourgaslis, James Martin and Ramadan Yze.
‘‘The whole club is pretty excited, but we haven’t lost four players and picked up 10 — we’ve replaced what we lost,’’ he said.
‘‘There are still going to be plenty of guys at the club who get opportunities and that was a big thing from the start.
‘‘I didn’t want to pick up a massive influx of players, because I didn’t think we needed it.’’
Campbell said the key to Mooroopna progressing further than the last few years was how well the recruits performed compared to those who left.
He also said the Cats faced a challenge to maintain their competitiveness as the new-look group jelled early in the season.
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