Recruits to shore up Cats’ final plans

Perennial powerhouse Osborne looks poised to return to finals action after luring several former players back to the club.

After contesting 14 consecutive finals series, the Cats missed the finals for the first time last season when they finished ninth with a 7-11 record.

But the Cats have been one of the most active clubs in the off-season with Albury premiership player Luke Heyme (overseas), Marty and Jeremy Bahr (Marrar), Matt Clarke (East Wagga-Kooringal), Andrew Clarke and Stephen Doig returning to the club.

In a further boost Stephen Crowhurst has also crossed from East Wagga-Kooringal and is expected to play as a key defender.

Cats coach Daniel McAlister said it was exciting to be able to attract so many former players back to the club.

“We tried to target several former players back to the club that are in that 22 to 26-year-old bracket and have played over 100 games to help develop and guide the younger kids,” McAlister said.

“We didn’t go chasing big name recruits because we are mindful we still need to develop our younger players.

“Getting Luke back to the club is a huge bonus because his last year of football was in a flag with Albury.

“Matty Clarke won East Wagga’s best and fairest last season while Marty and Jeremy will bolster our midfield depth.

“Getting Stephen Crowhurst was also crucial considering the amount of quality forwards that will be running around this year like the Bradshaws.”

The Cats have also re-signed key forward Trent Perczyk, who kicked 39 goals from eight matches after joining the club mid-season.

Osborne also targeted former Albury premiership ruckman Cal McClay who is still undecided whether to launch another comeback after two knee reconstructions.

Rory Muggivan is the Cats only confirmed departure after signing with Williamstown.

The Cats have been attracting 25 players to preseason training and will play Ganmain in a practice match on March 17.