Pan­thers lock down key play­ers for 2018

Benalla Ensign - - Sport - By Fraser Walker-Pearce

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.’’

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