K rock Football

Warriors lose premiership stars

Modewarre will be without star defender Daniel Sturzaker in 2019. (krockfootball.com.au Image/Marcel Berens)

MODEWARRE will be without at least four members of its drought-breaking premiership team when the 2019 season opens.

Among the confirmed departures from Community Bank Oval are hardnosed defender Daniel Sturzaker and quality midfielder Jeremy Ollis.

Sturzaker, who played 67 games for the Warriors after crossing from St Albans, has returned home to Portland for personal reasons.

“He’ll be a big loss for us down back. I know the club are disappointed to lose him and we don’t have a guy of that calibre around the club,” co-coach John Meesen said.

“Especially now that the league’s going to have some real power forwards, I think it would have been a really good test for him.

“But he’s made the decision for family reasons.

“So, we’ll just keep chatting to him and supporting him. If he does come back to Geelong hopefully he just comes straight back to our club.”

Ollis, who has played 119 senior games with Modewarre, will have a crack at GFL level with Bell Park.

“We’re more than happy for him to go and do that. I know that over the past few years he’s had the itch to do it,” Meesen said.

“Coming off the year we had last year, he was a really solid contributor and played his role really, really well, and probably flew under the radar because of some of the other guys around.

“He’s held in high regard internally and thought the time was right at 27, 28 (years of age).

“If he didn’t do it now, then he would be kicking himself if he didn’t go and try it.”

Brodie Adock and James Ritchie are also non-starters in 2019, while veteran forward Luke Forbes looks set to retire.

“There’s been no pressure from us to make a decision or anything like that,” Meesen said of the veteran forward.

“If he’s retired, so be it. If he wants to go and play at another club, that’s fine.

“But, he’s welcome back.”

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Meesen has confirmed the addition of George Swarbrick from Newtown & Chilwell and former North Ballarat Rebels TAC Cup player Hasker Dawborn.

“We haven’t felt we’ve needed to go for any big names from a GFL club or anything like that,” Meesen said.

“I think the way we’ve structured it up, we’ve got a pretty even group.

“We’ve still got Josh Finch playing at a high level, Mitch Fisher is one of the best players in the competition when he’s up-and-going, Cody Grant had a really strong finish to the year, Matt Farrelly was really good all year, and with Seamus Orr as a playing coach and Troy Anderson, we feel we’ve got a few we really want to reward.

“Jezza and Sturzy (leaving) creates some opportunities. Our twos lost the grand final by a point last year, so there’s a few guys chomping at the bit to play some more senior footy in 2019.

“We’ve picked up a couple, like you’ve always got to do.

“But, more so, we wanted to keep the group together.”

Twitter: @tom_king79