Former Werribee defender Nathan Laracy will play full-time for Myrtleford next year after announcing his VFL retirement.
And in a double-barrelled boost for the Saints, they’ve also signed promising West Australian youngster Jake Richards.
He’s originally from Warnbro Swans and also spent time in WAFL club Peel Thunder’s Colts program.
“Jake’s a crafty forward who can also go through the midfield,” Myrtleford coach Jake Sharp said.
“He’s got good goal sense and will be vital for our forward pressure, he’ll add to that forward fleet we’re trying to build.”
Laracy played 10 games last season, featuring in the best seven times, including the last five he played.
“I had nine years at Werribee so I thought (with) the mental side of things, just being injured the last few years (I would stop playing that level),” he said.
“I played the last two games (in the VFL) so proved to myself I can still play that level.”
Laracy, who turns 29 next month, was planning to have a year off, but the arrival of Werribee team-mate Sharp certainly changed his thinking.
“He’ll be massive, just with the experience he’s had at Werribee, he’s got a lot of respect from the guys,” he said.
And the first-year mentor is delighted to have the hard working and highly respected Laracy for the full season.
“It’s massive mate, he’s a born leader and the role he’ll play in our club with our playing group will be huge,” he said.
Laracy played 34 senior games at Werribee and reached the 100 club games milestone in 2017.
He was an enormously popular figure with the Tigers and considered the club’s number one lockdown defender until a knee injury derailed his 2016-17 seasons.
Laracy suffered a PCL injury in the opening round of 2016 and battled the problem for the next two years before surgery around 12 months ago.
“I was really happy to get back on the park,” he said.
“I need that continuity so playing pretty much every weekend, it wasn’t a real surprise I was playing pretty good footy towards the end of the season.”
Laracy’s late season form will delight Saints’ officials as they strive to break back into the top five.
Myrtleford snapped a 10-year drought by making the 2016 finals, falling to Wodonga Raiders in the first week.
The club dropped back to seventh the following season, with eight wins, and managed only four victories last season.
The return of Saints’ product Sharp as the club’s youngest mentor has provided an enormous off-season boost, with the retention of Laracy on a full-time basis and the signing of Richards only adding to the momentum.
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