THURGOONA has trumped a host of district league clubs in the race to sign Albury’s Sam Cross.
Cross had been on the recruiting radar of dozens of clubs after a dominant season in the Albury reserves where he topped the league goalkicking with 90 goals.
The talented Tiger weighed up several offers before the Bulldogs emerged with another prized signature after recently snaring North Albury livewire Kade Brown.
And in a further boost Lavington’s Kane Westlow has opted to cross to the kennel after playing eight senior games for the Panthers this season.
Cross played only a handful of matches in three seasons after undergoing two knee reconstructions.
But he made a full recovery this season to average five goals a match in the Tigers reserves and also played two senior matches.
Thurgoona coach Jason Sheather said the club was rapt to land Cross after he knocked back bigger offers.
“Sam had some big offers from most Tallangatta and Hume league clubs,” Sheather said.
“So for Sam to knock back some bigger financial offers and decide to join our club we feel is a real coup.
“He is a noted goalkicker but is also versatile and can play in defence.
“I think he is only 24 and this season was his first in three years after having two knee reconstructions.
“So his best footy is still ahead of him and he will be a huge asset.
“Kane will also give us another strong body and can play back or forward and is also fairly young.”
Cross will provide another dimension in attack, with the Bulldogs already boasting strong marking targets in best and fairest winner Luke Donnan, Todd Miller and Thomas Stead.
After a disappointing straight sets finals exit, Thurgoona has emerged as the off-season pace- setter as it chases an elusive maiden flag since joining the Tallangatta and District league in 1988.
“We are not getting too carried away,” Sheather said.
“The way I look at it we lost both our finals by six goals so we have to improve by six goals just to get close to those top sides.
“But getting those three blokes on board will help us and hopefully we can make some inroads.”