K rock Football

Cripps boost for Seagulls

Jack Cripps at training with the Northern Blues. (Tim Murdoch Photography Image/Tim Murdoch)

NORTH Shore has landed the first of what it hopes is several handy signings leading into the 2020 season with the addition of former Western Australian under-18 representative Jack Cripps.

The cousin of Carlton co-captain Patrick and West Coast forward Jamie, the 197cm Cripps spent a year in the WAFL with East Fremantle and three seasons with VFL club Northern Blues.

However, he didn’t play this year as he focused on starting his career in the horse racing industry.

“Vice-president Shane Hase said to me, “mate, you might want to give Jack Cripps a ring. I was talking to him, and he’s really interested”,” coach Mark McDowell said.

“I know loosely that he knows someone in the netball section – it might be the husband of one of the girls.

“So I got on to him, had a few discussions with him, and it all happened really quickly.”

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McDowell says the 23-year-old is the “ideal” recruit for the Seagulls, who endured a winless 2019.

“He can play both ends of the ground as a key forward or a key back, and he can pinch-hit in the ruck as well,” McDowell said.

“He’s one of those players you’d love to have with the ability to put him where you need to place him.

“If we’re getting some entries up forward, we’d like to have him up there.

“If we’re not getting many entries up forward and we have to defend a bit harder, we can swing him back.”

Entering his second year in charge at Windsor Park, McDowell is hopeful Cripps isn’t the only new face he’ll see this off-season.

“We’re going as hard as we can,” he said. “We’ve got about another seven or eight we think we’re a really good chance of getting.

“How many we get, I don’t know. We need to land a number of them.”

GFL: FORMER ROO OPEN TO SOUTH RETURN

North Shore has welcomed home Mitch Bone after a year away, however, clearances have been lodged to GDFL clubs by Ryan Robertson (Anakie) and Sam Harmer (Bell Post Hill), while Jonny Fazio and Alex Bowd are keen to join Central Highlands club Clunes.

McDowell remains hopeful that quartet may change its mind.

“We haven’t given up on any of those guys yet,” he said.

“I think part of the frustration for a lot of those guys has been the lack of success.

“We needed to recruit, and we needed time to recruit, and they might have been getting a bit impatient with the recruiting.

“I’m pretty confident that we’re going to land a few more players over the next week, so I’m hoping that might make them reconsider what they do.”

Former Richmond and Port Adelaide Jay Schulz, who played eight games with North Shore this year, has taken a role with Frankston and is unlikely to wear the blue and gold in 2020.

While McDowell is also resigned to losing GFL Team of the Year member Nick Dixon, who is heading to Sydney for study reasons.

“The last discussion we had was that it was more likely that he would be going to Sydney,” McDowell said.

“If that wasn’t to eventuate, he’s always said he’d definitely be playing with North Shore if he’s in Geelong.”

North Shore commences its pre-season tonight (Wednesday).

Twitter: @tom_king79