Kangaroo Flat coach James Flaherty has bolstered his side's midfield group by signing former Leitchville-Gunbower and Rochester star Jackson McEwen.
One of Flaherty's off-season aims is to inject some class into the Roos' youthful group and McEwen ticks that box.
Arguably the best player across the 2017 Heathcote District Football Netball League finals series, McEwen helped Leitchville-Gunbower to the premiership before crossing to Goulburn Valley Football League club Rochester where he played under Flaherty.
In two seasons with the Tigers he finished runner-up and third in the club's best and fairest awards.
"There were a few whispers getting around that he was on the move from Rochester and there were a few other BFNL clubs chasing him, so once I found that out I thought we'd better have a talk to him,'' Flaherty said of McEwen.
"He made a fair step up from Leitchy to the GVFL and, in a way, we were surprised with how he went about it. In his first year he was runner-up in the best and fairest, which was a great effort.
"At Rochey he played half-back and on-ball, but we'd expect him to spend more time in the midfield with us.
"I know what I'm going to get from him - he's quick, he uses the ball well and he can be accountable through the midfield.
"He's definitely the type of player we need at Kangaroo Flat.
"He's around that 24-25 age bracket, he's got good experience and is now ready to accelerate what he's doing with his footy.
"We're really happy to have him."
Flaherty said the Roos were recruiting quality rather than quantity.
An experienced, big bodied inside midfielder is number one on his shopping list.
"We're young, so we could do with a big body through the midfield to help the kids out,'' he said.
"We could adjust forward or back and give people opportunities there, but if we're not winning the ball out of the midfield then we're going to struggle.
"(Recruit) Mitch McKee will help fill that role, Jackson (McEwen) is a run and carry midfielder with some experience inside as well...so if we could get one more big body through the middle that would be great.
"A key forward is probably the other type of player we're looking for.
"The players we got on board last year have verbally re-committed and there's about 30 to 35 players from the existing young group that are on board as well.
"We're pretty happy with where things are at the moment."
Flaherty said the Roos plan to start pre-season training as soon as COVID-19 restrictions are eased.
"We want to get out there as soon as we can, but currently you can only have groups of 10 which makes it hard,'' he said.
"We're hopeful restrictions might ease in the next few weeks and pre-season could be as normal as possible.
"We're hopeful of starting pretty much as normal then."
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