K rock Football

Henry returns to footy at Winch

Tom Henry (no.23) in action for St Mary’s in 2017. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

A CHAT at a local cricket match has been the catalyst for former St Mary’s player Tom Henry to make his return to the game at Winchelsea.

Blues coach Brendan Forssman was tossing up a few names of potential recruits with Saints identity Russell McMahon last month when the older brother of Geelong defender Jack and Collingwood draftee Ollie was raised.

“I said we were looking for an athletic player that could play forward or back, and straight away Tommy’s name came into Russell’s mind,” Forssman said.

“I gave him a call, and we caught up for a coffee. He’s been training with us, and he’s been going really well, and he’s enjoyed what he’s seen, so he’s signed up with us.

“It’s been a big week for the Henry family and very good for the Winchelsea footy club as well.”

The 25-year-old, who represented Australia in the high jump as a junior, last played in 2017 as he helped the Saints to that year’s GFL reserve grade premiership.

He also made 11 senior appearances in the navy blue and green.

“I think he’ll predominantly play across half-forward for us,” Forssman said.

“I think he’ll get good opportunities one-on-one, and I think if he gets those opportunities, he will be really hard to beat.”

“But, he’s really versatile. He could probably play as a tall winger; he can play anywhere really.”

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Henry is among six new faces at Eastern Reserve, with former Geelong Falcon Ethan Floyd having been announced as returning to the club last month.

Also heading back to Winchelsea is former GDFL Team of the Year member Brad Mackenzie, who last played with the club when it made consecutive finals appearances in 2013-14.

Since then, he has appeared with the Belmont Lions and Torquay.

“He’ll play in our back six somewhere,” Forssman said. “He’s been training really well.

“We’re rapt to Macca not just for what he brings on the field, but he’s just a ripper fella.

“He’ll provide some really good leadership in our back half as well.”

The Blues have also confirmed the signing of Graeme Younger, who spent some time with Grovedale, from Ballan and Tim Jansen from Carisbrook in the Central Highlands league.

“They both played a couple of practice matches for us in the lead-up to 2020 and then committed to play,” Forssman said.

“Graeme will play down back. He’s a rangy type, 6’2” (188cms), and will probably play on the second or third tall forward.

“He’ll help ‘Gubbo’ (Alex Gubbins) across half-back, and we won’t be so reliant on one player back there doing all the work.

“Tim has played all over the field. We’ll try and get him a role where he best fits for us, and I think whatever role he gets, he’s most capable of playing.”

Former Grovedale junior Jake Stephenson has also committed to the Blues.

“He’ll probably play on a wing for us,” Forssman said.

“He won a couple of best-and-fairests through the junior years at Grovedale, but once he finished Colts, he went in another direction.

“I just gave him a call and asked him what he was up to, and he was really happy to hear from.

“He came down to training and has loved it.”

Forssman confirmed Tavae Sauni is training with GFL club Newtown & Chilwell, where he played two senior games as a teenager in 2013.

“He’s going to do the pre-season there and see how he goes,” Forssman.

“We wish him all the best, and if it doesn’t work out for him, he’ll hopefully come back to us.”

Joey Fama (Bannockburn) and Josh Carracher (retired) will also be missing in 2021. However, Forssman hasn’t ruled out Carracher taking to the field in navy blue next year.

The search is also continuing for a ruckman following the retirement at the end of 2019 of Mark Blake and the return of Kyle Brookes to Grovedale.

Twitter: @tom_king79