FORMER AFL player Ed Barlow has ended weeks of speculation by signing with Wangaratta.
In one of the Ovens and Murray’s worst kept secrets, the former Sydney Swan and Western Bulldogs utility committed to play at the Norm Minns Oval yesterday after working through employment issues in Melbourne.
Barlow, who took part in Wangaratta’s recent camp at Mount Feathertop, said he was excited by the prospect of joining the Magpies.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Barlow said.
“Matt (Grossman) is a mate of mine and signed up a while ago and it will be good getting out into the country and playing in really strong competition like the O and M.
“I had to work through a few work things over the past couple of weeks, but it’s all sorted and, after getting to know the Wang boys at the camp, I’m sure it will go well.”
Barlow, 25, played 12 matches with Grossman at Williamstown last season and joins a long list of former AFL and VFL players to sign with an O and M club.
He follows big names Richard Handreck (Yarrawonga), Patty Rose, Ben Davies and David Stretton (Wodonga Raiders), James Saker and Brant Dickson (Lavington), Aaron Kite (Myrtleford), Aaron Henneman (Corowa-Rutherglen) and Nathan Lyons (Wodonga) into the league and will help Wangaratta cover the loss of several key players.
Porter said Barlow’s strength would be his versatility as the Magpies try to build on last year’s elimination final berth.
“It’s good to get Ed, and we are all looking forward to having him at the club,” he said.
“He fitted in well at the camp and training and could almost play in any position on the ground.
“Ed’s a fairly laid-back guy and keen to get heavily involved in the club.”
The 195-centimetre Barlow was rookie listed by Sydney in the 2006 draft and went on to play 26 matches for the club before switching to the Western Bulldogs and playing another eight.
Barlow’s signing is timely with Wangaratta losing several key position players including Jake Spiteri (overseas), Fraser Dent-Ould (Moyhu) and Dale (knee) and Peder Whelan (Frankston Bombers).
The Magpies play reigning premier Albury in round 1 at Norm Minns Oval.