K rock Football

Battaglia back to Bannockburn

Former St Albans skipper Tristan Battaglia has returned home to Bannockburn. (krockfootball.com.au Image/Al Packer)

PETER Riccardi’s annual call-out to former Bannockburn players playing at higher levels has paid dividends for the second consecutive year, with Tristan Battaglia returning home from GFL club St Albans.

The Tigers unveiled the 26-year-old on Monday night as returning home for the first time since making seven senior appearances as a teenager in 2010.

“It’s fantastic news for our club,” Riccardi said. “Talking to him a little bit earlier, he’s excited to come on-board.

“One-pointers are gold these days. Last year we were lucky enough to get Jai Robinson and this year Tristan Battaglia.

“It’s been good for us in the last couple of years.”

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Battaglia played 28 games with the Geelong Falcons and 18 matches in Werribee’s reserves before joining the Supersaints.

He arrived at St Albans Reserve in 2013 and featured in exactly 100 senior matches and kicked 107 goals.

Battaglia, who captained the Supersaints, missed all of the 2018 season with a severe knee injury before returning to play 15 matches this year.

“I coached against him when he was at St Albans and I was at North Shore,” Riccardi said. “I remember how he plays, and I do remember he’s a quality player.

“We’ll play him in various roles. He wants to play forward, but he will be great for us through the midfield as well.

“We’ll suss that out in six months.

The return of Battaglia may offset the potential departure of livewire Brent Jacques.

Jacques, who has kicked 151 goals in 72 games for the Tigers, including 55 this years, is contemplating joining Jason Tom and Jake Myles in retirement.

“I’m trying to talk him out of it,” Riccardi said.

“His kids want to play footy and out, he’s out on his own with work, and just finding it hard to find the time.

“I’ll try and have that conversation with him in the next week or two.”

Riccardi says Battaglia won’t be the only addition at Victoria Park in the off-season.

“We’ve got the room with points, so there are a couple of other guys on the radar that we’re chasing,” he said.

“Like every club, you’ll put out 10-12 phone calls or text messages, and if you snag two or three, that’s probably all you’re going to get – especially if they’re four or five-pointers.

“But, we’ve got depth in our twos, and Brayden (Viccars) and Callum (Hetherington) were unlucky (to miss the grand final), and ‘Stevo’ (Michael Stevenson) was injured and making his way back.”

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