WODONGA Raiders have landed the first recruiting blow of the off-season by signing Barooga man-mountain Brodie A’Vard.
With the Raiders in desperate need of a ruckman, new coach Jarrod Hodgkin wasted little time swooping on his former Murray Bushrangers teammate.
The 27-year-old won the Murray league’s O’Dwyer medal by 12 votes this season.
A’Vard’s 37-vote haul equalled the league record set by Ovens and Murray legend John Brunner at Barooga in 1997.
“We needed a big ruckman so it’s great to have Brodie on board,” football operations manager Brad Smith said.
“He’s a big boy and has been playing some really good footy in the Murray league.
“Brodie’s going to give us more size and strength and that was something we lacked particularly against Wangaratta in the prellminary final this year.”
Originally from Jerilderie, A’Vard impressed in the TAC Cup before spending time in the Goulburn Valley and Murray leagues.
Brodie’s going to give us more size and strength and that was something we lacked ...Brad Smith
The 196-centimetre ruckman played in Shepparton Swans’ premiership win over Benalla in 2014.
A’Vard came runner-up to Moama’s Rhys Archard in the 2017 O’Dwyer medal.
“He’s been on our radar for a few years now,” Smith said.
“He’s been working up here for a while.
“Jarrod had a link through the Murray Bushrangers and it went from there.”
The Raiders have also stitched up Morris Medallist Brodie Filo and classy midfielder Daniel Bowles for another season.
Jydon Neagle, who scored a comfortable win in the Raiders’ best and fairest on Friday night, is being chased by several VFL and SANFL clubs.
He finished ahead of Filo and Jackson Kelly in the count.
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