Four former players pulling boots back on for Bears in LVFNL

RETURNING BEAR: Forward Cody Gunn, pictured in the 2014 Loddon Valley grand final, is among four former players rejoining Bears Lagoon-Serpentine this year.
RETURNING BEAR: Forward Cody Gunn, pictured in the 2014 Loddon Valley grand final, is among four former players rejoining Bears Lagoon-Serpentine this year.

BEARS Lagoon-Serpentine has regained three of its former players who were part of Charlton’s 2016 premiership team.

Among the Bears’ recruits for the 2018 Loddon Valley league season are Cody Gunn, Jye Sandiford and Daniel Hayes.

The trio have all previously played at the Bears before joining Charlton and savouring North Central league flag success with the Navies in 2016.

Also returning to the Bears is another of their former players, Shaun Bowles, who was also at Charlton in the 2016 premiership season, but missed the grand final due to injury.

The return of small forward Gunn – who previously kicked 184 goals from 2011-14 for Bears Lagoon-Serpentine – will give the Bears some added strength inside 50, Sandiford is a damaging on-baller, Bowles is likely to be used off half-back and on the wing and Hayes is a key defender.

For coach Greg Gadsden, the selling of the Bears to potential recruits has been far different to a year ago.

Twelve months ago the Bears were coming off a winless 2016 season, yet made a dramatic climb up the ladder to finish in the top five, before bowing out to Mitiamo in the elimination final.     

“The challenge for the players now is to back up again from last year, continue to improve and aim to have an impact in the finals this time,” Gadsden said on Thursday.

“We’ve been getting fantastic numbers on the track… over the first three weeks we’ve had nothing less than 35, so that’s a really good sign.

“We’re obviously hoping for some success this year, but the main thing is we continue to build the foundation to move forward from.”

At this stage the only departure from the Bears is Rhys Deacon.

The Bears have two practice matches locked in against Newstead on March 24 and the Mallee Eagles on April 7.

The Bears will open their 2018 season with a home game against Maiden Gully YCW Eagles on April 14.