Clubs lure quality recruits

January 19, 2024 BY

Heading to Heathcote: Daniel Johnstone is set to join the Saints from South Bendigo in the BFL for season 2024. Photo: FILE

MANY quality recruits have made their way to Bendigo Bank Heathcote DFNL clubs for the 2024 footy season.

Reigning premier Mount Pleasant has signed Kangaroo Flat’s Dylan Barber and Daniel Dempster to join a Blues’ squad that includes gun ruckman Chris Down, on-baller Mitch Rovers, Bailey and Fletcher White, Riley McNamara and Caelan Smith.

It’s a new look for the Blues following the departure of premiership winning co-coaches Adam Baird and Ben Weightman.

Mounts has appointed Cam Carter, premiership coach of 2005 and 2006 for another stint at Toolleen.

The Blues kick off their campaign on 6 April by unfurling their premiership flag before their home game against Heathcote in the rematch of last season’s grand finalists at Toolleen.

Another fruitful recruiting spree has the Andrew Saladino-coached Heathcote primed to be number one this season.

The Saints have bolstered their key positions through the signing of ruckman James Orr from Kyneton, defender Daniel Johnstone from South Bendigo, and forward Cooper Webber-Mirkin from Trentham.

Heathcote has picked up Zac Saad a goalkicking midfielder who has VFL experience with Coburg and also played for Gold Coast Suns and Southport.

The Saints welcome back Louis Piccolo.

Stung by consecutive finals defeats, North Bendigo has brought in class and experience.

A major coup was luring Golden Square premiership-winning on-baller Ryan Hartley to Hibo Hotel Oval.

Hartley has strong links to North Bendigo through his father, Jamie who won a senior best and fairest at the club and holds the club’s under-18 goalkicking record of 117 in 1998.

Ryan’s uncle, Steve was a gun player for North Bendigo in the 80s and 90s, and cousin Jordan Ford is a triple premiership-winning player who stays on in a playing assistant coach role to Rob Bennett.

The Bulldogs also regain Cheatley medallist and triple premiership player Tyson Findlay after a coaching stint with Cohuna Kangas.

Other newcomers in the red, white and blue include forward/mid Sam Barnes from Kangaroo Flat, ruckman Aidan Brohm from Bears Lagoon-Serpentine, and key defender Hamish McCartney from Maiden Gully YCW.

After a first-round bye, North Bendigo plays on April 13 at Elmore.