Howlong stake early claim with Hume league signings

WODONGA Raiders midfielder Matt McDonald has signed with Howlong.

In a huge boost to the Spiders’ prospects of going deeper into September, McDonald will be joined at the club by Chiltern duo Bodie Hibberson and Mitch Paton.

McDonald will be Joel Price’s assistant-coach.

“’Macca’ is pretty much exactly what we needed,” Price said.

“He started playing at Wodonga Raiders a bit later this season but Daryn Cresswell and Marc Almond said he was super.

“He’s going as well as ever.

“He will be a big plus for us in the middle of the ground.

“’Macca’ is experienced and I’m really excited about finishing our footy together.”

McDonald has spent the last two seasons at Birallee Park after previously playing at Jindera and North Albury.

Price and McDonald played together for four years at Bunton Park.

Hibberson will provide the Howlong midfield will further grunt while Paton looks set to play at centre half-forward and change with Azzi medallist Peter Hancock in the ruck.

“Bodie’s defensive pressure is really good and he’ll go through the midfield,” he said.

“We had a key forward weakness with Ryan Cannon going down this year and Mitch Paton will help us in that area.”

Cannon is a chance of returning from a serious knee injury in the second-half of the season.

Price said Howlong would set itself to improve on this season’s fifth placing when it bowed out of the finals in the first week.

“This year was a real rebuilding year,” he said.

“We put a lot of games into our kids and we’ll look to improve and go a bit deeper into the finals.

“It’s good to sign up a couple of recruits early and at this stage we don’t look like losing too many players at all.”

Although Lavington spearhead Adam Prior has been sounded out by several district league clubs including Howlong, the Strang Medallist is set to stay with the Panthers.

Meanwhile, Lockhart has signed East Wagga-Kooringal premiership midfielder James Creasy.

Creasy will have a delayed start to the season after being suspended for five games for striking Coleambally coach Josh Hamilton in the Farrer league grand final.

Henty has picked up Mangoplah-Cookardinia United-Eastlakes’ utility Dusty Rogers.

Rogers spent the last three years at MCUE and was a Riverina league representative player.