GOULBURN Valley inter-league and premiership player Quade Johnstone is headed to South Bendigo.
Johnstone joins the Bloods for the 2018 BFNL season and is set to play a key role through the midfield as the club continues its push to return to the finals.
Johnstone is a Shepparton Swans premiership team-mate of Bloods’ coach Brady Childs, with the pair having played together in the club’s 2014 flag.
“I spent two years playing with Quade in 2014 and 2015 and he’s a powerful onballer who is very hard-at-it, but also a good finisher on the outside,” Childs said on Friday.
“He will compliment our list with the experience he brings… he’s played about 150 senior games with the Shepp Swans and has represented the Goulburn Valley league multiple times.”
Johnstone was named among the best players in 11 of the 16 games he played with the Swans this year.
“We’ve got a lot of quality youth at the club and we’d like to add a bit more experience across all the lines and Quade will provide that through the midfield,” Childs said.
Also confirmed recruits for the Bloods are Callum Crisp and Lachlan Furness.
Crisp spent this year playing with Wedderburn. He’s also a previous Victoria Country under-19 representative while at Myrtleford.
“Callum is a 200cm ruckman/forward who has senior experience in the Ovens and Murray with Myrtleford, as well as this year with Wedderburn,” Childs said.
“He’s a younger player who gives us another ruck option around Kieran Strachan and to play up forward.
“And Lachlan spent this year at White Hills and was a Heathcote District inter-league player. He’s a small forward/midfielder who is keen to come in and progress his footy.”
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Furness kicked 28 goals for the Demons this year.
And star forward Kaiden Antonowicz will be just like a recruit also given he suffered a season-ending ankle fracture in round five.
But in those four-and-a-bit games he played, in which he kicked 29 goals, the dynamic Antonowicz was quick to prove what a handful for opposition defenders he will be when he returns to the field in 2018.
Antonowicz – also a Shepparton Swans premiership player in 2014 – will be a playing assistant coach for the Bloods in 2018.
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“Kaiden is back doing gym work and will be right to go during pre-season,” Childs said.
Childs is also hopeful of making a return to the field during the 2018 season having undergone a second reconstruction on his left knee.
The Bloods – who finished sixth this year with a 9-9 record – begin their pre-season training at Harry Trott Oval on Monday, November 20.
Jacob Smythe and Daniel Farrelly are new co-coaches of the reserves, while Neale Torpey is again coaching the under-18s.