BEECHWORTH has reacted savagely to its wooden spoon season, signing up to a dozen ready-made senior players for next year.
In what shapes as a remarkable turnaround, the Bushrangers now look a finals contender just a month after finishing on the bottom of the Tallangatta and District league ladder with one win for the season.
The Bushrangers, who have unveiled Myrtleford defender Gareth Pritchard as co-coach with Brenton Surrey, have also signed North Albury defender Chris Taylor, former Wangaratta Rovers midfielder Brayden Carey, as well as a host of other former premiership stars.
Pritchard, who played 15 senior Ovens and Murray games this year, said the chance to return to the club he won a flag at in 2010 was too good to refuse.
“The opportunity to coach with Brenton, who is a good mate of mine, was too good to knock back,” Pritchard, 28, said.
“It was good to get back to Myrtleford and play there this year under Leigh (Corcoran) and Brad (Murray), they’ve got a good setup, but I played all my junior footy at Beechworth and the chance to be co-coach with one of my good mates was a great opportunity.
“Coaching is always something that’s been in the back of mind.”
Carey, meanwhile, shapes as a huge signing.
Captain of the Bushrangers’ 2010 premiership team, the Barton medallist played at Geraldton in Western Australia this year and will bring teammate Sam Millet with him.
Premiership players Rahn Deuis and Liam Ashworth have also returned.
Joel Maskell, who played with Ashworth at North Wangaratta this season, has come across to the Tallangatta league with his Ovens and King teammate.
Cade McDonald, who finished runner-up in Beechworth’s 2011 best and fairest, is also back at the club.
Ryan Taylor, who booted 109 goals at Yackandandah in the thirds this year, has joined, as have Des Flanagan and Jake Gotz.
Milawa pair Tim and Kris Allan are also on board.
Beechworth’s resurgence doesn’t stop there, with the club luring physio Jeremy Carr to the club.
Carr, from Wangaratta, has worked with Hawthorn in the AFL and Major League Baseball side New York Mets.