Lions look forward without Tom

By
Updated: February 10, 2016
An injury-free Kevin Bourke will be a key to Leopold returning to the GFL finals. Picture: AL PACKER
An injury-free Kevin Bourke will be a key to Leopold returning to the GFL finals. Picture: AL PACKER

An injury-free Kevin Bourke will be a key to Leopold returning to the GFL finals. Picture: AL PACKER

LEOPOLD coach Steve Clark hopes some minor tweaks to the Lions’ forward structure will offset the loss of spearhead Jason Tom.

Tom, who kicked 207 goals in 72 games after returning to Memorial Park in 2012 from a stint at Geelong Amateur – including 56 last year – has joined GDFL club Bannockburn.

His departure, coupled with that of 2014 Mathieson medallist Guy O’Keefe, who kicked 26 goals in 2015, has resulted in the loss of 82 goals from the Leopold offence.

“When you go outside of Jase, we did have quite a few kicking goals, especially the year we played off (2014),” Clark said.

“Jai Thompson, Brandon Howarth, there’s a lot of guys who could kick goals.

“Boydy’s (Lucas Boyd) going to be a lot more comfortable this year.

“It took him and Jase a bit of time to work each other out last year, they were a bit too nice to each other, and Kevvy Bourke played sore all year.

“He’ll ready to go by the time the season starts, so we’re looking forward to him having a bit more impact, too.”

Clark admits Tom’s presence will be missed – both on and off the field.

“He’s just a ripper,” Clark said

“The thing with Jase though, we’ve squeezed everything out of him the last two years with his work, travel and family.

“He gave it absolutely everything, but he’ll be the first one to admit he just wanted to go back and take the pressure off and spend time with family.

“It was worrying him a lot while he was playing.

“He’s going to be hard (to replace), but that’ll give a kid a chance to come in and hopefully replace him.”

Key departures from the Lions, who went from grand finalists in  have been limited to Tom and O’Keefe, while at the same time adding some handy replacements.

Young big man Alex Moloney arrives from Hampden league club Terang-Mortlake, while Andrew Pepper spent last year with Werribee and also played two GFL games with Geelong West-St Peter’s.

Sam Scott played 10 games in green and gold last year, but has cut ties with North Ballarat, and Logan Wagener and Mitch Patten are back from time with the Geelong Falcons.

Talented youngster Jye Cross is also due back mid-season following a knee reconstruction.

They will all add depth that the Lions sorely missed through the middle of 2015.

“At some stages through the middle of the year we had over 20 out and 10 of those are your more senior players, so that hurt us with the new blokes coming into our system,” Clark said.

“The upside of that is we were able to keep getting games into young blokes.

“A bloke like Daniel Pitcher, who we’ve put a few games into the last few years, has come along really well, so we’re really excited to see his improvement.”

Twitter: @tom_king79



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