New hope for Demons

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - FRONT PAGE - Josh Zimmerman

PERTH Foot­ball Club hopes three mar­quee re­cruits can help the Demons un­lock the cel­lar door and re­turn to fi­nals con­tention for the first time since 2002.

Af­ter 13 sea­sons at or near the bot­tom of the WAFL lad­der, the ac­qui­si­tions of for­mer AFL play­ers An­gus Gra­ham (Rich­mond/Ade­laide), Clint Jones and Spencer White (both St Kilda) have in­jected new be­lief into the club.

Ruck­man Gra­ham joins the Demons from Aber­feldie in the Essendon Dis­tricts Foot­ball League, where he helped steer the club to its first premier­ship in 41 years – in­clud­ing a seven-goal con­tri­bu­tion in the grand fi­nal.

Jones, a South Fre­man­tle prod­uct, re­turns to WA af­ter 149 games for St Kilda, dur­ing which he de­vel­oped a rep­u­ta­tion as one of the AFL's best tag­gers un­der the coach­ing of Ross Lyon.

He spent last sea­son play­ing for St Kilda's VFL-aligned club San­dring­ham and was named club best and fairest at the age of 31.

Drafted by the Saints in 2012, White made just two ap­pear­ances for the se­nior side but the 21-year-old 196cm key for­ward holds a wealth of un­tapped po­ten­tial, ac­cord­ing to Perth Demons foot­ball op­er­a­tions man- ager Tyson Beat­tie.

“As a tall for­ward, Spencer filled one of the key po­si­tions we were re­ally tar­get­ing in the off­sea­son," Beat­tie said.

“Hav­ing a player that you can ac­tu­ally aim for when bring­ing the ball into the for­ward line was some­thing we re­ally missed last sea­son and Spencer is so dom­i­nant in the air.

“He also has great speed for his size and if he gets the right de­liv­ery will be mas­sive for us.”

Beat­tie said the ad­di­tion of Gra­ham and Jones to the Demons’ bur­geon­ing mid­field would help el­e­vate the en­gine room to an­other level af­ter an im­pres­sive 2015.

“The mid­field is def­i­nitely a strength of the team,” he said.

“Ai­dan Tropi­ano won the San­dover Medal last year, Liam McKenna is hit­ting his prime as a WAFL foot­baller, our cap­tain Dene White is a vet­eran pres­ence and Brett Wolfenden, who joined us from Swan Dis­tricts, is also ap­proach­ing 100 league games.

“Adding Clint Jones into that mix with An­gus Gra­ham in the ruck will give us a great chance to win first use of the ball.”

Beat­tie said with the new re­cruits on board a run deep into Septem­ber and the fi­nals was the goal.

“I can't speak for the coach in terms of wins and losses, but we'd be hop­ing to push for the fi­nals – that's what ev­ery­one in a nine team com­pe­ti­tion should be push­ing for,” he said.

An­gus Gra­ham, Spencer White and Clint Jones.

Pic­ture: Will Rus­sell­mu­ni­ d449061

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