READ MORE – Heathcote District league 2018 season review
COLBINABBIN has fired its first recruiting salvo ahead of the 2019 Heathcote District league season with the key signing of X-factor forward Daniel Connors.
Connors is mates with new Colbinabbin coach Julian Bull, with the two having previously gone to high school together at Echuca.
“I’ve been mates with him for a long time and we made a pact a few years ago that we’d spend at least one year playing together,” Connors said on Friday.
“I had the chance to see a few of Colbinabbin’s games this year and they aren’t far off the mark at all.
“Hopefully, getting myself in will help and if we can get another midfielder and the younger boys get a good pre-season in then I don’t see any reason why we can’t shake things up and be the last team standing at the end of the year.”
Connors – who previously played 29 AFL games for Richmond between 2007 and 2012 – played this year with Sandhurst.
The 30-year-old endured a frustrating season that was hampered by a mix of work commitments, hamstring injuries and a three-match suspension. He played nine of the Dragons’ 21 games and kicked 33 goals.
“I had an interrupted pre-season last year with moving over (from Kalgoorlie) and obviously had a few leg issues, but the plan is to get as fit as possible and give myself every chance to have a good year,” Connors said.
“I’d like to be able to get up the ground a bit more next year to have some more flexibility so I’m not just pigeon-holed into the one role and can catch a few teams off guard.
“I really enjoyed my time at Sandhurst this year. The club is really well run and I know they will be successful in the future and I’ll certainly miss a lot of those boys who I played with.”
Connors joins Colbinabbin on the back of the Grasshoppers finishing third this year after they lost the preliminary final to North Bendigo.
“Getting Daniel on board will certainly strengthen up our forward line,” Bull said.
Hopefully, getting myself in will help and if we can get another midfielder and the younger boys get a good pre-season in then I don’t see any reason why we can’t shake things up and be the last team standing at the end of the yearDaniel Connors
“We’ve got a lot of options in our forward line, so I could also see him spending a fair bit of time going through the midfield as well, which is something he’s really keen to do.”
As well as the addition of Connors, the Grasshoppers have also recruited defender Jonathan Barnett, who is a premiership player with both Merrigum and Macedon.
“Jono is a key defender, but he’s also played a bit through the midfield at Macedon, so he has a fair bit of flexibility and has a big body he likes to throw around a bit,” Bull said.
At this stage departures from the Grasshoppers include key forward Elliot Bowen (40 goals this year), who has moved to Tamworth.
Defender Daniel Hill is joining Rochester and Tim O’Dwyer has retired.
Bull has taken over as coach from Nick Knight, who previously led the Grasshoppers for three years.
Bull previously played at Colbinabbin before spending three years coaching Wycheproof-Narraport, including to the past two North Central league flags.
The Grasshoppers will begin their pre-season training in late November.
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