Panthers lock down key players for 2018
The Benalla All Blacks have locked down a further 10 footy players until the end of next season.
Senior players Trent Chapman, Sam Newton, Ryan Pentreath, Andy Trende, Alex Rofe, Kyle Collison, Teague McMaster, Jack Doidge, Chris O’Connor and Jackson Hourigan have all signed contracts to remain at the Panthers until the end of the 2018 season.
They join the team of previously-signed players Al Jacka, Nick Spencer, Chris Lockhart, Riley Moran, Harry Moran and Jack Ellis.
Panthers head coach Harry Moran said the signings showed the club was headed in the right direction.
‘‘The first lot we signed has a lot of experience in the line-up, and not necessarily when it comes to age, it’s more about the number of senior games they’ve played,’’ Moran said.
‘‘That’s where that experience comes from. But these guys we’ve just signed are part of the core group.
‘‘I reckon the majority of those blokes, bar maybe one, have been senior players all the way through the season.’’
Moran said it was important to keep the core group constant, so the side could build on the current season’s success, next year.
‘‘There are a couple we are looking to get out of Melbourne, but probably only five or six more,’’ he said.
‘‘And we have a lot of time to do that, we’ll be working on that over the summer.
‘‘We’ve done well to retain about 85 per cent of the current playing list.
‘‘They’ve got us to where we are this year, so we maybe need just a bit more experience for next year.’’
Moran said he had not ruled out talking to players from other clubs, locally and out of town.
‘‘Yes we are looking at others, but I’d like to keep the recruits local mostly,’’ Moran said.
‘‘We have plenty of talent still in Benalla. It’d be a last resort to go out of town to find those last extra players.’’