NEWLY appointed Wodonga Raiders coach Ken Stevenson has launched a stinging attack on star midfielder Ben Davies after his decision to join rival club Wangaratta.
After speaking to at least five clubs in the Ovens and Murray league, Davies has told Raiders officials of his intention to join his cousin James Wong at the Magpies.
Davies is set to formally announce his decision today.
A disappointed Stevenson fired a parting shot at the Raiders best-and-fairest winner.
“We are extremely disappointed with his decision to join Wangaratta,” Stevenson told The Border Mail.
“Our offer to him was lucrative and the club really looked after him right across the board last year.
“After playing for us last year we were entitled to think he would give us a second year of service and show some loyalty.
“I reckon to go and play against us is really poor form.
“It’s not so much me being disappointed because I wasn’t at the club last year and don’t know Ben personally, but I know our players are extremely disappointed that he would leave the club and play against them.
“He told us that he loved the footy club, loved being around it and has no issue with Wodonga Raiders.”
After being told of the comments last night, Davies didn’t want to return fire.
“I don’t know Ken personally so it doesn’t affect me too much,” Davies said.
“I think I left on good terms.
“I had a great year at Raiders this year and there are some good people around the club. I have no hard feelings at all and wish them all the best.”
Davies’ departure is another savage blow for the Raiders who are already reeling from the loss of Doug Strang medallist Patty Rose (Avondale Heights), David Stretton (Lara) and Scott Meyer (Beaconsfield).
Midfielder Luke Schilg (Brock-Burrum), Aydan Brown (Thurgoona) and Daniel Cassidy (Jindera) have also left the club.
“Rose left on fantastic terms and was terrific to deal with,” Stevenson said.
“He indicated that he would love to come back to the club at some stage.
“Meyer also left on great terms and gave the club three years’ service.”
Stevenson said the Raiders had re-signed the remainder of their list.
“We are extremely happy to shore up the remainder of our list,” he said.
“We have signed up a further eight recruits from district clubs.
“We are also close to announcing some high profile recruits and are confident if we can sign them that we can play finals again next season.”