Lions launch flag defence

PAKENHAM will kick its premiership defence off under new coach Ryan Cassidy at a meet-the-coach night this Friday night at the Toomuc Reserve. While Cassidy will take the reins there is a good whack of tried-and-true local football experience behind him with 2009 mentor Michael Holland becoming the club’s “specialist coach” and another ex-coach Dan O’Loughlin saddling up as “development coach”. O’Loughlin tossed around the idea of retirement after this season’s flag, in which he was named the VCFL Medallist, but has decided to keep playing and challenge the young Lions to earn his spot in the side if they want it badly enough. Training starts on Monday 7 December, and the theme for 2010 to be launched this week will be: “To remain the Premier team, we need to train and prepare like the Premier team.’

RUMOURS swept the district a couple of months ago that delisted SYDNEY SWANS and COLLINGWOOD forward Nick Davis was looking at playing with a Casey Cardinia League club, with TOORADIN and NARRE WARREN mentioned as front runners. Well, although the MPNFL does look like it will become the new footballing home for Davis, Peninsula League club BONBEACH has now emerged as the front runner with Davis tipped to join ex-MELBOURNE big man Ben Holland at the Sharks next year.

THERE were a few disappointed CATANI punters last Saturday after they missed out on a financial windfall by not putting their hard earned on a racehorse named Catani Storm, which saluted in race three at Yarra Valley and paid the handsome dividend of $35. Interestingly the horse’s name appears to have its origins in the breeding through its dam Bambreezy. Is it drawing too long a bow to suggest a connection between the dam’s name and the legendary Banbury family of Catani? The horse’s owner lives in the district but is not regular at the local club.

NARRE WARREN officials are privately seething (again) with confirmation that promising teenager and 2009 Gazette Young Gun nomination Nathan Brewster has been lured to EDFL club WARRAGUL INDUSTRIALS alongside his two siblings Shane and Danny, both also former Magpies. The Brewster brothers were among a number of players to depart Fox Road for the neighbouring District League competition last year, after ex-Narre Warren reserves coach Wade McGill was appointed to the senior job at the Dusties. One extremely peeved Magpie member suggested this week that, if the Dusties continued to target their players, they could change their name to the Warragul Industrial Magpies and all the seniors could wear their old Narre Warren strips thereby saving the club $2000 on new jumpers. Think we can expect a reply to this one.

HOPES that young gun James Magner may return to BEACONSFIELD are becoming forlorn according to a member of the FRANKSTON DOLPHINS coaching panel, who said last week that Magner was back in full training with the VFL club under new coach Simon Goosey. Our man admitted that Magner had not yet signed on for 2010, but said that club was very confident he would commit and play the role of a key midfielder at the feet of Casey Cardinia league best and fairest winner Russell Gabriel, who has returned to the Dolphins after a year at DOVETON.

IN A pro-active move, the WGLFL executive has invited all clubs to participate in a forum on 7 December to discuss the key football and netball issues that may impact on their clubs and the league in the near future. Some of the more pressing topics to be raised will concern sponsorship and facilities and, with regard to the latter, the league hopes to formalise a set of standards for all grounds and amenities, which has to date been difficult in a competition that spans five councils.

PAKENHAM Gazette Team of the Year halfback Ricky Hayes is the latest DOVETON star to be confirmed as a 2010 departure. Hayes will join his former Doves teammate Daniel Charles at BULN BULN, along with two other young Doveton players in Brad Virgona and Josh Viney. On the downside for the Lyrebirds, talented forward Jamie Taylor has left the club for TRAFALGAR next season. Meanwhile, Peninsula league battlers PINES are believed to be very keen on snaring another Dove in key defender Peter Greenstreet, while KEYSBOROUGH has its eye on in-and-under playmaker Ben Hoskin.

PLAYER departures and what may or may not happen at the Robinson Reserve in 2010 were the least of the worries for a group of DOVETON stalwarts spotted on a houseboat on the Gippsland Lakes over the weekend. The Doves, led by likely lads including Pakenham Gazette tipster Stuart Batten and veteran premiership defender Mark Mott, apparently spent the weekend systematically enjoying the hospitality of every hotel within close walking distance of a dock. Happily, emergency service crews who were on high alert, reported that the same number of lads that left for the weekend adventure actually returned.

NOT surprisingly 2009 WGLFL premiers MAFFRA has reappointed Graeme Robbins as senior coach. Robbins, a former RICHMOND player, was an understudy to club legend Wayne Butcher, the father of first round AFL draftee John Butcher, during the Eagles halcyon premiership era in the 2000s when Maffra won five flags in six years. The Eagles won this year’s flag in thrilling circumstances under Robbins, who will be supported by assistants Ben Coleman and Ben Batalha next year. That pair will replace forward Adrian Burgiel, who has stepped aside to devote more time to his business but will still play on, and his brother and former premiership coach Hayden, who will take on a specialist coaching role in 2010. Senior ruckman Andrew Dunsmuir has been appointed the Eagles reserves coach. Meanwhile Robbins’ son Ben, who played AFL football at BRISBANE and NORTH MELBOURNE, has announced his retirement and accepted an offer of the role as an AFL runner with the Kangaroos under his good mate Brad Scott.