High hopes for new Darley ruckman

GAVIN MCGRATH, The Courier 19 Jan, 2011 11:05 PM

THERE are high hopes for Darley's newest big man.

The Devils will enter this Ballarat Football League season with a much-needed injection of height after securing 196cm ruckman Scott McAllester from Essendon District Football League second division club Airport West. Darley coach Gary Learmonth said McAllester's inclusion was a big plus for the 2010 finalist, reinforcing veteran warhorse Travis Stephenson in the ruck while offering another tall target up forward. "(McAllester) is 23, six foot five and the sort of bloke who can take a big grab," Learmonth said yesterday. "Trav Stephenson did a great job for us in the second half of the year but it is hard work for him with blokes jumping all over him for an entire match." Also joining the Devils this season is Skipton premiership player Joel Riske, who has trained with VFL club Williamstown over the summer. Learmonth said Riske's finals experience would benefit what is one of the youngest playing groups in the MECU BFL. "Joel is only 20 but has already played in a couple of senior premierships. It's not major league but that's invaluable experience he can pass on to our younger guys," Learmonth said. "After doing the whole pre-season at Williamstown, he's got pretty fit. We need support for Bernard (Whelan) deep in the forward line and think he'll be able to do that." Learmonth said the Devils were still hoping to recruit another forward and another midfielder. Meanwhile, Jake Edwards has departed Darley Park for Port Melbourne, while Lachlan Herring has moved to Adelaide, but Learmonth was confident however, with the addition of new recruits and the return of a number of players who played limited football last season, the Devils would be at least as strong as they were in 2010. "Shaun Deckert only played two games last year and, if he can get up to his 2008-2009 levels, that gives a lot of flexability forward and back, and Tuddy (Jarrod Edwards) has had his ankle fixed and is well into his recovery" Learmonth said.




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