Cats lure flag hero back

PERENNIAL powerhouse Osborne has rebounded from several off-season departures by regaining Des Kennedy medallist Rory Muggavin.

In a major boost to Osborne’s hopes of remaining a finals force, Muggavin returns after spending last season with Lavington.

The skilful utility can play in almost any position and will help cover the loss of premiership stars Matt Clarke (Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong), Nic O’Connell (university), James Kennedy (Collingullie-Ashmont-Kapooka), Ben Davis (North Wagga) and Luke Heyme (retirement).

Muggavin was best on ground in the Cats’ 31-point win over Henty in the 2012 grand final.

“It’s a pity we couldn’t have signed a player of his calibre earlier in the piece, it might have helped us retain some of these guys we have lost,” Osborne premiership coach Daniel McAlister said.

“But it’s a step in the right direction, that’s for sure.

“We know what he brings to the table and he won our best and fairest and the Des Kennedy Medal in 2012.

“He is certainly a valuable asset for us and sometimes when you snare a marquee signing it leads to further signings.

“We have got a couple more recruits in the pipeline but nothing that’s really positive at this stage.”

The Cats finished fourth last season after losing to eventual grand finalists Holbrook in the semi-final.

McAlister is under no illusion Osborne will need to improve further to remain a finals force.

“The season ahead is shaping as the most competitive in over a decade,” he said.

“I think most sides will start the season with the belief they can make the finals and we are no exception.

“Our thirds won the grand final last year and we are going to put a lot of faith in our kids.

“If we can develop our kids over the next couple of seasons it will hold us in good stead for the future.

“But we are not going to use our kids as an excuse if we miss finals, I will be keen to get the most we can out of them with the expectation of playing finals.”

The Cats have been handed a tough draw early in the season, with grand finalists Holbrook and Brock-Burrum in the opening two rounds followed by Henty and CDHBU.

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