K rock Football

Giants add welcome depth

Geelong West recruits (from left) Mitch Viney, Kelly Williams, Matt Heazlewood, Eugene Stanciu, Justin Carey and Ted Walliss. (krockfootball.com.au Image/Al Packer)

GEELONG West’s quest for a quick return for the GDFL finals has been boosted the addition of eight players in what has been a fruitful off-season at Bakers Oval.

The Giants, who snapped a 21-year finals drought in 2018, fell to 8th with just 7½ wins this year as its depth was sorely tested by injury and unavailability.

Co-coach Mitch Wight was keen to avoid using injuries as an excuse, but he conceded it played a role in West being unable to consolidate its previous year’s performance.

“It seemed that our key players got injuries. I think we worked out that out of our top 10 players, we got 40 games out of them,” Wight said.

“Paddy Dwyer missed eight games, Tim Wight played a handful (six) of games, Ryan Ganz played nine games, Justin White played six games.

“So bringing guys like (ex-Ocean Grove duo) Justin (Carey) and Kelly (Williams) on board, who have both captained their club, will give us that extra experience.

“You get those guys back from injury, and all of a sudden instead of three or four leaders, we’ve got five or six that can help us out on the ground.”

GDFL: INS & OUTS

As well as Carey, who was unveiled earlier in the pre-season, and Williams, Geelong West has welcomed former Vic Country under-19 representative Tom Bourke from Goulburn Valley club Euroa, Giants GFL player Mitch Viney, Bell Park’s Joseph Bangura, and Matt Heazlewood and Ted Walliss from Berrigan in the Picola and District league.

Eugene Stanciu has found his way back to the club after stints with Belmont Lions and Colac and District club Otways Districts, where he kicked 60 goals in 45 games.

Brenton Ritchi, Tyson Stott and Scott Galloway have also committed to full seasons.

“We were very targeted our approach this year,” Wight said. “We understood how we fit in the (points) cap and where we could recruit.

“Eugene comes to the club as a one-pointer, but the other guys load us up on points, but we can comfortably fit those guys in.

“We made sure we were across that before we welcome them on board.”

Wight, who enters his second as co-coach with Andrew Clark (fifth season), says competition for spots in the team for the Round 1 twilight clash with Werribee Centrals will be hot.

“And that’s definitely the position we wanted to be in,” Wight said.

“We don’t want guys to be comfortable that they just rock up every week and be guaranteed a spot.

“It’s where we needed to be as a club that, all of a sudden, there are seven or eight spots up for grabs every week.

“It’s exciting.”

Twitter: @tom_king79