Family ties lure gun back to the Cattery

Osborne recruit Rory Muggivan has been a key part of the Cats’ head-turning start to the season. Picture: DAVID THORPE
Osborne recruit Rory Muggivan has been a key part of the Cats’ head-turning start to the season. Picture: DAVID THORPE

A premiership medal, best on ground in the grand final and a club best and fairest in the same season.

It is a rare trifecta that few players can boast on their playing CV.

Prized Osborne recruit Rory Muggivan joined the exclusive club when he last played for the Cats in 2012.

And that is why the skilful utility is regarded as one of the biggest signings in the league over the summer.

Muggivan spent last year with emerging force Lavington but has returned to Osborne this season mainly because of family ties, with Cats coach Daniel McAlister his uncle.

“I left Lavington at the end of last season and moved to Perth for six months,” Muggivan said.

“I had planned to stay over in Perth and started pre-season with Swan Districts.

“But the cost of living over there was a bit of an eye-opener so I decided to move back to the Border and am building a house and getting married at the end of the year.

“So I have got a fair bit going on and couldn’t really commit to the training at Lavington.

“Obviously with Daniel being my uncle and in the twilight of his playing career it was a motivating factor to have at least one more year playing alongside him.

“So I decided to commit to Osborne for the year.

“But I love playing at both Lavington and Osborne, with both family-orientated clubs.

“Osborne has an amazing culture with so much community support.

“It still amazes me how many of the club legends still turn up just to watch training on a Thursday night and hang round for a barbecue afterwards.”

It may have been only one season since Muggivan last played for the Cats but only a handful of his 2012 premiership teammates remain.

Only six — Muggivan, McAlister, Jamie Parr, Hayden Gleeson, Tom O’Connell and Marty Bahr — played for the Cats last weekend.

That fact had many critics writing off the perennial powerhouse as a legitimate flag contender this season.

But the Cats haven’t taken long to prove the detractors wrong by claiming the prized scalps of last season’s grand finalists in the opening two rounds.

Osborne smashed Holbrook by 99 points in the opening round before outclassing Brock-Burrum by 56 points last week.

Muggivan said an emerging crop of youngsters who played in the thirds flag last season had rejuvenated the Cats’ list.

“No doubt we have surprised a few but we have surprised ourselves as well,” he said.

“We have just gone out there to play with no expectations.

“Kids like Patty O’Connell, Connor Galvin, Jacob McDonnell and Matt Klemke have showed some promising signs.

“It’s just exciting to see the kids perform so well — it is infectious for the rest of the playing group.”

The Cats’ flag credentials face another stiff challenge when they host premiership contender Henty on Saturday.

“There hasn’t been much between the two sides over the past couple of seasons,” Muggivan said.

“Henty looks to be a definite flag threat again and have probably been stiff not to win a flag in the past two years.

“They have got a dangerous list and are well led by Brent Piltz and Jamarl O’Sullivan and you always expect a fierce contest from them regardless of the ladder position.”