K rock Football

Tate boost for Lions

Ollie Tate in action for Leopold in 2019. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

LEOPOLD has landed one of the recruits of the GFL off-season with the return of former VFL star Ollie Tate to the club.

Tate, who played two games with the Lions in 2019 while in his final season with Williamstown, was due to play with Southern league club Cheltenham in 2020.

However, coach Jason Tom says with Tate now working in the Geelong area the door opened to him committing to Leopold.

“(Football boss) Matty Aston had spoken to him for a pretty long time, to be honest, and he was a pretty important target for us,” Tom said.

“He’s 28, and he’s got lots of good footy ahead of him, but he’s also a quality bloke.

“To have him around the club and around our young guys with that experience at that level is just massive, I think.”

Tate, who also has a stint with WAFL club Claremont on his resume, played his two games for Leopold across half-back, and Tom expects that’s where he’ll line-up in 2021.

“The guys spoke pretty highly of how he conducted himself and his use of the ball, so I think half-back’s his position,” Tom said.

“Athe same time, we’ll talk to him about that, and where he sees himself playing his best footy, and work with where that fits into our team.

“But, I think his brains and his ball use across half-back’s going to be pretty important for us, I’d say.”

GFL: INS & OUTS

Tom also confirmed the arrival of talented youngster Jett Matthews from Western Region league club Hoppers Crossing.

The 19-year-0ld, who spent time in the Western Jets NAB League program, has moved to the area.

“He expressed an interest to come and have a crack at GFL footy, and he’s decided to come on board with us, and we’re happy to have him,” Tom said.

“He seems like a kid that can develop into a good player.

“He looks like he’s got a bit of line-breaking ability and he uses the ball quite cleanly.”

Leopold resumed training late last month and have included a club-based tournament as part of its pre-Christmas program.

“We’ve got a hybrid AFL 9s/AFLX (competition), with a little bit of contact, but mainly possession-based,” Tom said,

“We’re into our second week of that. It was pretty competitive last week, and we’ll run that through to just before Christmas when we have a grand final and, hopefully, a bit of a get together with some of our fans if restrictions allow us.

“We train another night of the week as well, which is more traditional footy.

“But the boys love the hybrid format, and it’s very competitive.”

One player watching on is Bannockburn recruit Kieran Fulton as he recovers from hip surgery.

“He hopes to be running just before Christmas,” Tom said.

“He’s in my team in the AFLX, so he watched on jealously last week and wished he was out there running around with the boys.

“Even he commented on how competitive it was out there.

“With eight months without competition, they relished it.”

Twitter: @tom_king79