COOLAMON defender Marshal Macauley believes the success of players like Jake Gaynor and Jackson Kelly is proving a carrot for more Riverina league players to join Ovens and Murray clubs.
Macauley has signed with Wodonga after building an impressive resume in the RFL and is set to prove a major acquisition across half-back for the Bulldogs.
“There’s been a fair few players come down,” Macauley, 25, said.
“I just wanted to test myself at a higher level.
“I know Shaun Flanigan from Wagga Tigers who plays for Wodonga and he’s enjoyed it.”
Gaynor starred for Albury in the Ovens and Murray grand final last month and was unlucky to miss out on the Did Simpson Medal while Kelly finished third in Wodonga Raiders’ best and fairest award.
Macauley won Coolamon’s best and fairest in 2017, finished runner-up this season and has been a regular inter-league representative.
He has played 149 matches for his home club, mainly at centre half-back.
“I haven’t really played anywhere else so I thought I’d give it a go while I could,” he said.
Macauley was assistant-coach at Coolamon this season and is a former premiership player.
Unlike last season when Wodonga were decimated by departures, coach Zac Fulford has managed to shore up his list and add Macauley and former Bulldogs Tom Heagney and Will Stefani.
Fulford is confident Macauley will make an impact at John Flower Oval.
“He’s going to be a positive addition to our defensive group,” Fulford said.
“He obviously comes pretty well credentialed and we’re excited to get him on board.
“We’ve had an eye on a couple of guys up there and Marshal was one of them.”
Heagney has returned after six seasons with Caulfield Bears in the Southern Football League.
He won a best and fairest with the Bears during that time.
Stefani played for Dederang-Mt Beauty this year but has opted to return to Wodonga.
“Tom’s really developed as a midfielder and in terms of leadership as well,” Fulford said.
“It’s good to get Tom and Will back.”
Tim Kennedy has been appointed coach of Wodonga’s thirds while the Bulldogs are still looking for a reserve grade mentor.
Fulford said he was pleased with the club’s player retention with veteran Brett Doswell (Thurgoona coach) the only confirmed departure.
Several other players are looking at moving away for university.