North Albury has continued its strong off-season by luring talented junior Mitch Mahady back to Bunton Park for 2018.
The key defender has spent three seasons in the NEAFL with Sydney University and will play a major role down back for the Hoppers.
North Albury co-coach Clinton Gilson admits it’s a massive pick up for the club and is topped off by the fact Mahady will slot in as a one-pointer.
“The best thing about getting Mitch is it means Tom Gallaway, Jack King and guys like that who were playing as key defenders last year will now play as flanks or pockets,” Gilson said.
“Realistically it’s probably where they’re at because they’re only 18 and 19 years of age.
“To get a key defender means they’ll now play on the third or fourth best forward instead of the best or second best which makes a huge difference.
“The club is trying to bring back as many local kids as we can and Mitch obviously fits that bill and we’re just rapt to have him back.”
The 21-year-old will relocate to the Border in the next fortnight and begin training with the senior group.
“He’ll be very beneficial to our group, even though he’s very young, he’ll be able to bring a bit of experience with what he’s learnt in the NEAFL back to our guys,” Gilson said.
“He’s at a good age and he’s played three or four years of senior footy.
“It’s good for our supporters to get local kids coming back and kids who are North Albury through and through.”
Defence was an area the Hoppers clearly needed to address, conceding 2213 points during the season, the second most in the league.
“Daniel (Leslie) and I tried a few things towards the end of the year, some worked, some didn’t,” Gilson said.
“Obviously with (new co-coach) Chris (Schmidt) coming on board, he’ll have a few different ideas on how we can do things.
“You don’t want to put a limit on what you can achieve, but we’re starting to get a good list together.”
Schmidt won’t officially train with the group until its camp on February 3 at Mitta.
“We have been talking every day or two,” Gilson said.
“As long as him and I are communicating all the time like we have been, it will work no worries at all.”
The Hoppers hope to sign as many as four more players by the end of the week.