Panther recruit punted

LAVINGTON has taken a stand and parted ways with star recruit Cameron D’Altera.

In a preseason shock, the Panthers have terminated D’Altera’s contract just a month after securing his services.

The small-forward, signed via North Footscray, repeatedly failed to meet expectations set by the Panthers’ coaching staff over the summer and the club has opted to let the Melbourne-based forward go.

D’Altera failed to turn up to the Panthers’ training camp at Howmans Gap last weekend which was the final straw.

Coach James Saker said yesterday it was a regrettable situation but the club had to put itself first.

“It’s unfortunate because he would have been handy for us,” Saker said.

“He was a nice guy to deal with but we’ve got upwards of 30 guys putting it out there on the track and have been since November.

“I couldn’t pick him ahead of those guys.

“It wouldn’t have been fair on the group.”

Saker said the crafty forward did not meet his requirements and that had left the Panthers with no choice.

“When we signed him we outlined a few things that would best help him integrate into the group which he committed to but unfortunately wasn’t meeting,” he said.

“He’s got other things that he’s committed to and there was a chance we wouldn’t have seen him until our final practice match which is not acceptable.

“At our club we need everyone on the list to be 100 per cent on board.”

D’Altera, 21, booted 

54 goals in just 13 games for the Devils in the Western Region league last year and was named in the competition’s Team of the Year.

Although his unexpected departure comes as a blow, Lavington has still added Rory Muggavin, Luke Brauer, Lewis Gardiner and Zach Hopper to its list over the summer.

Saker said the Panthers, who were knocked out by Albury in last year’s knockout semi-­final, were hopeful of finding a replacement for D’Altera before the season began.

“There’s definitely a spot up forward for the taking,” he said.

“But having said that we’re really happy 

with how some of our fringe players from last year are working at training.

“Opportunities will certainly be there.”