Panther trio impress at Tigers

By
Updated: February 24, 2016
Bell Post Hill premiership trio Dylan Witney (pictured), Caleb Bacely and Beau McNamara have all impressed since joining Grovedale in the off-season. Picture: AL PACKER
Bell Post Hill premiership trio Dylan Witney (pictured), Caleb Bacely and Beau McNamara have all impressed since joining Grovedale in the off-season. Picture: AL PACKER

Bell Post Hill premiership trio Dylan Witney (pictured), Caleb Bacely and Beau McNamara have all impressed since joining Grovedale in the off-season. Picture: AL PACKER

GROVEDALE coach Craig McCaughan says Bell Post Hill recruits Dylan Witney, Beau McNamara and Caleb Bacely will be “good, solid players” in the GFL.

The focus has been squarely on the trio since they arrived at Burdoo Reserve after being key parts of the Panthers recent GDFL succes.

“I think they generate a bit more publicity because they essentially came together,” McCaughan said.

“Whether they play as well as they did at Bell Post, you never know until you get into it.

“They’ll play different roles for us. Beau McNamara will hold down a key spot down back and the two others boys will run through the mids and up forward as well.

“I can see them playing a real good role for us.”

McCaughan admits he hadn’t seen the three play prior to signing with Grovedale, instead backing the intelligence of a key source.

“I got in touch with a close friend of mine and he said “these three are superstars at GDFL level”, so I got on to them pretty early.

“Once one came on board, the other two came.

“It was nice, easy one for us to get and it’s helped out a lot because we’ve lot a little bit of depth through our midfield and down back as well.”

The Tigers have also added talented North Geelong wingman Lachie Wright, while Jay Moody arrives from Hampden league club Portland with plenty of wraps.

He is currently training with the Geelong VFL squad after coming to notice with 50 goals as a small forward in 2015.

“Jay will be another avenue for goal for us, and (we’ll) be a bit different than just Jordan Erskine,” McCaughan said.

“Over the years we’ve been one-dimensional a lot, with Jordan kicking 70s and the next best being not quite 20.

“We knew we needed to go in with another avenue to goal.

“Hopefully Jay, for us, depending on what happens at the VFL, if he can play a few games there, great for him, and if we get him most of the year, it’s good for us as well.

“From all reports, he’s going really well down there.”

While kicking goals will be a key, McCaughan is well aware Grovedale has to improve down back, an issue that was no more glaring than in the opening quarter of its elimination final loss to Newtown & Chilwell.

The Tigers conceded six goals in the opening quarter as the Eagles ran out 62-point winners on their way to a grand final appearance.

“We know we need to tighten up in defence, not the six defenders, but as a team defence, and make sure we don’t get opened up and bleed goals like we did against Newtown, Bell Park in Round 17, and Colac (in Round 11),” McCaughan said.

“Those games that we dropped, when the floodgates opened, they really opened.

“We’ve been working at a few different strategies at training, but training’s one thing.

“When we get into the match sim and the real games, that’s where it gets a bit tougher and hopefully we can implement some things that will stem the flow a little bit if other teams get a run on.”

Grovedale hosts St Albans in Round 1 at Burdoo Reserve on April 9.

Twitter: @tom_king79