ROCHESTER star Steven Stroobants has landed a plum job at North Melbourne and is unlikely to play with the Tigers next season.
Stroobants will work in a development role at the Kangaroos and play with the club’s inaugural VFL team after North’s alignment with Werribee ended.
In a potential double blow for the Tigers, fellow Victoria Country representative Nathan Marrone has had interest from three VFL clubs and has been training with Essendon.
Rochester playing coach James Flaherty said the classy pair could still be affiliated with the Tigers and play some games.
‘‘We’re still hopeful he’ll (Stroobants) align with us, but he’s got a job working with first to third-year players and will play VFL with North Melbourne,’’ Flaherty said.
‘‘If he aligns with us, we could still get him for a few games when he’s not required in the VFL.
‘‘For Marrone he’s going to be at Essendon for the VFL pre-season and he’ll see how that goes over the next few weeks and if he makes it on their list.
‘‘He’s going to stay aligned with us, but hopefully he does play VFL seniors and we’ll just get him to play for us when he can.’’
They are not the only losses for Rochester, with long-serving midfielder Dillion Williams signing at Eaglehawk in the Bendigo Football League.
Ruckman-forward Scott Oakley is leaving to live in Adelaide, the versatile Mitch Bright is off to Colbinabbin and Jarod Bacon will return to home club Lockington Bamawm United where his father is president.
That is on top of the retirements of veterans Heath Aitken, Elliot Bowen and Sam Brennan.
But former Bendigo Pioneers ace Rhys Free has signed with Rochester after two seasons with Coburg.
Free played three senior games with the Lions and 29 in the development league. He won the Pioneers’ goal-kicking in 2015.