WANGARATTA has landed another recruiting coup after signing highly-rated NEAFL midfielder Abraham Ankers.
Ankers joins Collingwood premiership player Ben Reid at Norm Minns Oval who is arguably the biggest signing in the club's history.
And in a further bonus dual best and fairest and premiership midfielder Joe Richards has scrapped plans to play in the new-look VFL competition and has committed to the Magpies for this season.
After a shock loss to Lavington in the 2019 decider, the Magpies look set to boast their strongest list yet as they strive to make a fourth consecutive grand final.
Coach Dean Stone said he was delighted to add another dimension to the Magpies midfield that already boasts players the calibre of Richards, Matt Kelly, Daine Porter and Daniel Boyle.
"We were specifically after another quality midfielder and we feel Abraham will provide that," Stone said.
"We had a bit of a connection with Abraham through Michael Newton and Michael Bordignon who have played alongside him at Waratah's.
"He is probably the type of player that we have been chasing for the last two or three years or even longer now.
"Just that inside midfielder who isn't just an accumulator but also has the ability to hurt the opposition on the scoreboard.
"If you have a look at his stats he is a noted goalkicker.
"It also gives us the chance to give guys like Richards, Kelly, Porter and Boyle a bit of a chop out."
We were specifically after another quality midfielder and we feel Abraham will certainly provide that.- Dean Stone
Ankers, 25, was touted as an AFL draft prospect early in his career.
He dominated for Northern Territory Thunder in the NEAFL in 2018-19.
The speedy midfielder was named NEAFL Team of the Year captain in 2019 and finished third in the competition's MVP award.
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Ankers also was awarded the Thunder's Club Champion as well as leading goalkicker in 2019.
Stone said Ankers would also be an asset in helping develop the club's youth.
"With his experience it can only benefit our kids like Richards and Melville (Brad)," he said.
"We are probably fortunate we have got four or five kids under 22 that can play through the middle.
"Abraham has got plenty of leg speed but I wouldn't say he is lightning quick.
"He has got really good balance, is really clean with his hands below his knees and proficient of both sides of his body."
Stone said having Richards commit to the Magpies this season was an unexpected bonus after he was set to explore his VFL options last year.
"Joe and Abraham will spend a fair bit of time together in the midfield," he said.
"But both can be dangerous options when resting forward.
"Joe has finished his teaching degree and has full-time employment in Wangaratta.
"He hasn't missed a session with us and is in great nick.
"He has won our past two best and fairests and it's fair to say still has his best footy ahead of him."