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By KRISTEN ALEBAKIS
WEST Coast Eagles premiership player Daniel Kerr has signed on to exclusively play with St Albans in 2018.
The former All Australian was unveiled as the Saints’ prized new recruit to the St Albans members on Thursday night.
Kerr, who is a highly decorated former AFL player, sent a video message to the club’s playing group, saying he was looking forward to playing full-time with the Saints next season.
New coach Brady Murphy said Kerr would play a key role in what will be a new look St Albans team.
“Obviously he (Kerr) is a name synonymous with the AFL,” he said.
“He has signed on a full time basis which is really positive, so he won’t be playing any other games anywhere else.”
Murphy said getting Kerr to the Saints was seamless.
“I spoke to Daniel twice on the phone and within a week he committed to the club,” he said.
“He is running his own charity at the moment, dealing with disadvantaged aboriginal kids and doing a lot of good stuff.
“Obviously he had some issues a few years ago and we were concerned about that, but looking into what he is doing with his charity and he now has a young family, we found that he is an amazing person.”
Kerr is currently based in Western Australia. He is expected to travel between Perth and Melbourne every few weeks.
“He will come down for three or four weeks at a time and then go home for a week or two and then come back,” Murphy said.
“Hopefully we get 12 to 14 games from him during the season and then finals. He is fully committed and ready to go.”
It’s going to be a revamped St Albans side in 2018, with club predicating up to nine new faces will play in Round 1 next year.
As well as Kerr, St Albans have also recruited Riddell District Football League Best and Fairest winner Jason Cooke from the Macedon Football Club.
He finished the regular season with 77 goals to his name and is poised to make a big impact on the WRFL’s Division 1 competition.
“He (Cooke) was part of the AIS as an Under-18 player, he was touted as a top 20 draft pick and just missed out,” Murphy said.
St Albans have also recruited four star players from Sunbury; David Kovacevic, Adam Short, Tom Donoughe and Ben Said.
“David Kovacevic is a ruckman, he is a really big, strong, physical presence which is what you need in the Western Region league,” Murphy said.
“He won Sunbury’s best and fairest, so he is a quality player.
“Adam Short is an interleague centre half back and a premiership player with Sunbury.
“He is a 26-27-year-old body that is going to help preach my message on the ground, he is a really good leader.
“Tom Donoughe is only 21 and he has finished in the top three in the best and fairest for the past three years, for a young kid that is a really good effort. He is an inside midfielder that gets a lot of the footy and will really complement Daniel Kerr.
“Ben Said won Sunbury’s goal kicking this year, he only played 10 games. He is a smaller forward, but he is very crafty around goal, he has a bit of attitude which I like in players.”
Finally, Melton’s Nathan Wallace has joined St Albans. Wallace is a hard running midfielder who has played alongside Murphy in the Ballarat league.
“We are really excited about the recruits, we have three or four more that we have signed, but we aren’t ready to release their names,” Murphy said.
Murphy, who is also new at St Albans said a phone call from club legend Damien Fitzpatrick is how he got the chance to coach at Kings Park Reserve.
“He (Damien) has been a way for a few years and he wanted to come back and get involved and he asked me if I would sit down with the club and I said yes,” Murphy said.
“I came with an open mind and once I spoke to the people involved it was a pretty easy decision for me to be honest.
“I was at Melton for four years and at Hoppers Crossing for six years and you sort of get a stale towards the end, so you want to try something different and this has given me a new lease on life.
“I hope to spend a long time at St Albans and try and build something special.”
Murphy admits St Albans performed poorly this season, but says the club can turn it around quickly with the high calibre of players he now has at his disposal.
Pre-season training begins on November 13.