Thursfield headed to LVFL premiers
DEFENDING Loddon Valley Football League premiers Bridgewater will have two ex-AFL players on its list next year, with Will Thursfield joining new Mean Machine coach Andrew Collins at the club.
Thursfield and Collins are former team-mates at AFL club Richmond.
Thursfield played 77 AFL games for Richmond between 2005 and 2011.
The 27-year-old coached Leongatha in the Gippsland Football League this year, but will join good mate Collins at Bridgewater in what is another recruiting coup for not only the Mean Machine, but the LVFL.
"Will is going to play for us, so that's very exciting," Collins said on Wednesday.
"He's a quality player and a quality person and will be a massive asset for us.
"He can play in a variety of different roles and wants to come up and have a bit of fun.
"We've been great mates since 2007 when I first joined the Tigers and he already knows quite a few of the Bridgewater boys, so he will fit in really well.
"With his experience, Will knows football very well. He has coached, so not only his playing ability, but his knowledge of the game will be fantastic.
"But we're also just as excited about all the other players we've got coming as well."
The Mean Machine have a pair of premiership captains in David Coghlan and Nick Harris returning to the club from Mount Pleasant, plus Julian Lake and Tim Belsar.
"We haven't gone over the top with our recruiting, because we have Zeb Broadbent, who is having knee surgery this week, to come back in, and Isaac Broadbent, who is having a shoulder operation next week, to come back as well," said Collins, who played 36 AFL games with Carlton and Richmond.
"And (ruckman) Josh Metherell has had his scaphoid fixed, so he'll play next year, too."
At this stage, the only confirmed loss from this year's premiership team is the athletic tall Jack Hickey, who is moving to Camperdown, with next year's team shaping as arguably the best on paper since Bridgewater's reign of dominance began.
The Mean Machine have won the past four premierships since 2010, including beating Bears Lagoon-Serpentine by eight points in this year's grand final.
Bridgewater and the Bears will meet in a grand final rematch in round one next year on April 5.