K rock Football

Miller time for Centurions

Former Leopold star Matt Millar has joined Werribee Centrals. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

LEOPOLD great Matt Miller has shelved retirement plans after signing with Werribee Centrals.

Miller, who played 161 games with the Lions, including the 2016 premiership win over St Mary’s, has joined the Centurions as a playing assistant coach.

Centrals coach Nick Smith says the signing of the veteran midfielder, who has VFL experience with Williamstown, coupled with the return of 2011 best-and-fairest Brayden Smith is a massive boost as they loook to snap a six-year finals drought.

“We’re pretty excited; at the top of our shopping list was experience,” Smith said. “We didn’t really worry too much about positions as much.

“We were looking for people with that game experience and a little bit more age behind them because we’ve got such a young group.

“Matty Miller certainly ticked that box. We know that he’s been a good player for a long time.

“We still reckon he’s got a couple of good years in him at GDFL level.”

GDFL: INS & OUTS

Brayden Smith, who won best-and-fairest awards at both Westbourne Grammarians and Yarraville, last pulled on the green and gold in 2012.

He was part of the last Werribee Centrals team to feature in a GDFL senior grand final – the 2010 loss to Bell Post Hill.

“My mail on him is that he is a fantastic intercept centre half-back, which is exactly what we were looking for,” Nick Smith said.

“Our backline at times, aside from captain Blake Quarrier, was pretty much only 19 or 20.

“He’s a bit Mitch McGovern-ish in how he likes to play his footy. He likes to mark rather than punch, so I reckon that will be a great addition to what is a disciplined, young backline.”

Smith is happy if that tops off Centrals’ recruiting, but with their best 22 falling well short of their 40-point cap, there is room for more additions at Galvin Park.

“If that is us done, I’m not too fazed about that,” he said.

“But both those guys have quite heavy connections with guys around that age bracket who may have been out footy for a bit or are now interested in chatting with us now that we’ve got them.

“We’re hoping to announce one more experienced recruit before the season starts back up.”

GDFL: 2018 IN PICTURES

Smith’s son Jackson, who took the competition by storm in 2018 and finished third in the Whitley Medal, will remain at Centrals after knocking back an invite to train with Geelong’s VFL team.

“He’s fiercely loyal. He felt a bit torn by going to Geelong having started something with Centrals, especially when he was in the leadership team,” Smith said.

“He’s decided he’d rather go around again for another year and see if we can get into the finals and take a couple of big steps forward.”

The Centurions open their season with a home game against North Geelong on April 6.

MEANWHILE, Bell Post Hill has confirmed Jake Barlow will join Colac and District league club Apollo Bay.

Barlow, who was best-on-ground in the 2015 grand final win over North Geelong, is the second Panther to head down the coast, with sharpshooter Jayden Ettridge signing in late 2018.

Twitter: @tom_king79