Werribee season preview

vfl.com.au recently chatted to Werribee senior coach John Lamont about what could lie in store for the club on the field in 2017.





AFL ALIGNMENT: North Melbourne

2016 FINISH: 11th (7-11)

2016 BEST AND FAIREST: 1. Matt Hanson / 2. Declan Mountford / 3. Ryan Clarke

2016 TEAM OF THE YEAR: Matt Hanson

- Selected in 2004: Dale Morris* (Western Bulldogs)
- 2009: Michael Barlow* (Fremantle/Gold Coast)
- 2012: Kyle Hartigan* (Adelaide)
- 2013: Ben Brown (North Melbourne), Luke McDonald (North Melbourne)

KEY 2017 INS & OUTS:
- In: Max Augerinos (Geelong Falcons) / Charlie Bance (Wagga Tigers, NSW) / Harry Boyd (Murray Bushrangers) / Dom Brew (North Albury) / Nick Buykx (Western Jets) / Jordyn Cotter (Western Jets) / Billy Crofts (Western Jets) / Daniel Foley (Western Jets) / Kyle Galloway (Sydney AFL) / Jack Irvine (Temora, NSW) / Isaac Miller (Bendigo Pioneers) / Louis Pinnuck (Murray Bushrangers) / Darby Schilder (Geelong Falcons) / Tylar Vujanic (Western Jets)
- Out: Isaac Conway (Port Melbourne) / Josh Porter (Wangaratta) / Jake Wilson (West Adelaide, SA)


Josh Porter and Jake Wilson: “Key-position blokes don’t grow on trees. Josh (33 goals in 23 senior VFL games) and Jake (2015 VFL Team of the Year defender) are a loss, of course, but you just give someone else a chance.”


TAC Cup graduates: “We think we have an exciting crop of new youngsters. Max Augerinos from the Geelong Falcons, Harry Boyd and Louis Pinnuck from the Murray Bushrangers, Isaac Miller from the Bendigo Pioneers, and Western Jets kids Daniel Foley and Jordyn Cotter – they’re going to be the first ones in line out of that group for spots in the team as 23rd players.”

Kyle Galloway: “Kyle has had one development year as a rookie with Sydney. He’s a genuine 200+cm ruckman and we’re pretty pleased with how he’s coming along, but he hasn’t played a lot of footy. He missed a bit of pre-season with injury but we’re hopeful he can make a bit of an impact at some stage.”

Charlie Bance: “Charlie had a bit of time through the GWS Academy and then played a bit of NEAFL footy with the Giants. He’s also on the list of early 23rd player options. He missed a bit of training over the pre-season because of his move to Melbourne but he’s made a positive impression.”


Matt Hanson: “Matt’s won our best-and-fairest the last two years. I definitely believe he’s got the capacity to be on an AFL list. He came through the Tassie Mariners program in the TAC Cup, had a year in local footy in Tasmania and has then had two years with us all as an inside midfielder. He still hasn’t been drafted, so obviously AFL clubs want to see a bit more from him. We’ll probably challenge Matt in different roles this year to broaden his horizons.”

Michael Sodomaco: “Michael’s retaining the captaincy this year. He’s certainly growing into the role and improving each year. He’s understanding where he fits in as well as the link he provides between the coaching group and the players, and I believe he’s going to continue to get better. He’s previously played in defence and pinch-hit in the midfield and that’ll continue. He’ll play where we need him.”

Tom Gribble: “Tom played some good footy in 2016 after missing 2015 through injury. He was in the VFL Team of the Year in 2014 so I’d expect him to be getting back to his best now. Last year was a bit of a slow build because he missed much of the pre-season but by the end of the year he had a couple of really big games where he got a lot of the footy. He just naturally finds the footy.”


Injured players in 2016: “I’m looking for improvement in those guys who didn’t play much footy last year. Jordan Jones previously had three years on West Coast’s list (two AFL games from 2009-11) and returned home to Geelong last year. He had a foot injury and a hamstring in 2016 but he’s had a good pre-season, so hopefully he’ll get a good run at it now. Nathan Laracy broke his leg in Round 1 last year and didn’t play again. Jake Sharp had a knee reconstruction in 2015 and did a great job upon his return last year but then broke his leg mid-season. Kurt Aylett came off Essendon’s list with an Achilles tendon issue, got himself right, played two Development League games and broke his leg in his first senior game (in Round 15). Jason Robinson broke his leg in Round 2 and didn’t play again either. If we can get those blokes to play bigger chunks of the season, it’ll mean a lot for us.”

Nick Meredith (pictured): “Nick’s going into his second year after playing 14 senior games in his first year. He generated interest from about three AFL clubs so hopefully he can build on that this year. He’s a competitive third tall defender or forward, but he can play in a variety of roles. I think Nick could be on an AFL list.”

Brad Xavier: “Brad’s a developing tall (195cm) going into his second year. He didn’t come through the TAC Cup – he just came through local footy, so he’s probably coming from a little bit further back. He played two senior games as the 23rd player last year and has had a good pre-season. He’s got good athletic qualities.”


“If Todd Goldstein, Ben Brown and Majak Daw play a lot of footy with North Melbourne, I reckon (fellow Kangaroos tall) Brayden Preuss could play a fair bit of footy with us. He’s developing and played some good footy in the JLT Community Series. If he or Kyle Galloway is in the ruck, hopefully we can get first use of the ball and demonstrate the strength of our mix of Werribee and North Melbourne on-ballers. That’s where our strength will hopefully lie – in our depth of numbers going through the middle of the ground.”


“We missed the finals last year so we need to improve in all areas, really. We’re going to be a young group. We’ve had a list turnover of almost 50 per cent so I just want them all to be on the one page and work together.

“North Melbourne’s list has obviously changed – they’re younger too. Historically we’d get a bit of experience back from the Kangaroos like Robbie Nahas and Farren Ray, but they’re not on North’s list anymore. Most of the time, the players we’re going to get back will be youngsters and that’s why it’s going to be really important that we don’t just have all North Melbourne kids and all our kids out there. We need that group of blokes that have been injured and the likes of Hanson, Sodomaco and Gribble to stay fit to provide a bit of experience around the North youngsters.”


“In the senior group, Matt Kershaw has replaced Mick Richards who ran our midfield last year, Brad Julier joins us as a ruck coach and Jacob Spalding will remain the forward line coach with Ben Patrick again doing our back line. For the Development League, Ross Gemmill, Shayne Stone and Dean Chambers will join head coach Dan Fraser as assistants.”


Related content:

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Northern Blues season preview

North Ballarat season preview


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VFL 2017 Ladder

Peter Jackson VFL 2017
1 Williamstown 56
2 Box Hill Hawks 54
3 Port Melbourne 50
4 Casey Demons 48
5 Richmond 44
6 Essendon 40
7 Footscray 40
8 Collingwood 32
9 Northern Blues 32
10 Geelong 32
11 Sandringham 32
12 Werribee 32
13 Coburg 8
14 North Ballarat 4