A BUSY start to the off-season has seen Lockington-Bamawm United lure five important talents to the club, including a number of locals.
Echuca’s Bart Phillips headlines the impressive list of recruits. The backman steps into a role as an assistant coach at his new club after a strong season with the Murray Bombers.
Just as important are Lachie Collins and Jarod Bacon who join the Cats from Moama and Rochester respectively.
The pair are both LBU juniors and only valued at one point on the player points cap system.
They kicked a combined 67 for their clubs in 2017 and bring much-needed experience and class to the LBU forward line.
Phillips’ brother Tyler has also made the move from Echuca, after having established himself in the senior side before injury late in the season. Fringe Rochester senior Jeremy Mundie has joined them as well.
New LBU coach Kahl Oliver, a three-time premiership coach at LBU, was pleased with his early returns on the recruiting front.
‘‘We’ve done pretty well,’’ he said.
‘‘They’re five footballers that have all had experience in major leagues, and are all fairly young blokes.
‘‘We were aiming to get local, young talent back to LBU. It means they can train two nights a week and these guys are going to be able to do that.
‘‘With the fact most of these guys are one-pointers because they’re local blokes, it really helps with recruiting. If we need to top-up with a couple of four-pointers, we’re in the position to do that.’’
The young LBU side made strides in the back half of 2017, taking the challenge up to many more experienced sides.
But it is clear with Oliver’s re-energising of the club combined with supplementing the list with experienced players, finals are on the cards for 2018.
Oliver said he had heard only good things about Phillips and was excited to have him as an assistant coach for the new campaign.
‘‘He’s been involved with coaching the thirds at Echuca and all reports from that are all really positive,’’ Oliver said.
‘‘And he leads by example as a senior footballer.
‘‘We had some talks with him and they were all really positive.
‘‘He’s a bloke in his mid-20s keen to give it a crack as an assistant coach.’’
Oliver said a near-entirety of the 2017 players had indicated they would return for the next season, chief among them gun mid Meyrick Buchanan who has told the club he is committed to play as much as his cricketing schedule will allow.