Dogs gutted over loss of stars

WODONGA coach Ben Hollands says he feels gutted for the Bulldog community over the defection of Matthew Shir and Brett Doswell.

After remaining silent for several weeks, Hollands said yesterday the club had been rocked by the pair’s decision to break contracts to join Albury and Holbrook respectively.

The Bulldogs will seek compensation for the pair leaving the John Flower Oval.

”We’re just bitterly disappointed both are gone,” Hollands said.

“Players move between clubs and we don’t have an issue with that but both players are contracted and have agreements.

“It’s bigger than the on-field stuff.

“We are community football clubs and people within our footy community support our players all of the time.

“Key supporters of our club employed them.

“Financial commitments have been made to them as well and you just expect them to honour those agreements.

“What is the point of having contracts?”

Doswell cited the opportunity to co-coach Holbrook with former mentor Jarrod Twitt as the reason for wanting out of Wodonga, while Shir’s decision to join Albury was based on aspirations to play in another premiership before he retired.

Shir also played at the Murray Bushrangers with Tiger co-coaches Daniel Maher and Chris Hyde.

But Hollands couldn’t accept either reason.

“Their reasons aren’t acceptable,” he said.

“Shirry has been through the good times and we hoped he would stand up next to the board and myself as coach and help lead us back where we want to be.

“You don’t have to look too far to see examples.

“Look at what Matt Fowler has done at Albury.

“He has been through the best and the worst times and he will be forever remembered because he stuck it out.

“Robbie Walker is the same at Wangaratta Rovers.

“He did exactly the same thing.

“Shirry had an opportunity to be remembered as a great player for us who could have helped lead us climb our way back and he’s missed that opportunity.”

Shir, a three-time premiership player at Wodonga, returned to the Bulldogs from Queensland mid-season this year, while Doswell is coming off a stellar year and was considered unlucky not to win the club’s best and fairest award.

Ben Hollands.

Ben Hollands.