Lavington's climb back after its horror COVID season continues, snaring Bendigo Football League representative Jake O'Brien.
The Panthers had been a perennial finalist and went into the last season as defending premiers, but became the first club in 35 years to miss finals the following season.
However, the club dropped the bombshell of the off-season so far last week in announcing Greater Western Sydney assistant Adam Schneider on a three-year coaching deal.
The addition of O'Brien, a former best and fairest at Castlemaine, who's also played senior football at VFL outfit Port Melbourne, is the club's first major player signing.
"We're expecting Jake to be more an outside midfielder," football manager Graham Hart explained.
We're expecting Jake to be more an outside midfielder.- Graham Hart
"We've got a lot of midfielders that are very much in the contest, so you've just got to get that balance right.
"We've got a lot of in and under players who can then feed off to the edges and that's where Jake will be."
The arrival of Schneider, who grew up playing an hour's drive from Lavington Sportsground at Osborne, means the league will have eight of the 10 clubs with mentors who have played or coached at AFL level.
Wodonga and Wodonga Raiders are the only clubs without a profile name.
"Certainly the buzz was up on the track on Thursday night after they were made aware of who the new coach was," Hart recalled.
"It's pretty exciting around our footy club."
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"We'll need to do a bit recruiting. we'd allocated some points if there was a coach out there who might have been a four, five or six-pointer if needed, as well as allowing that person to still recruit, so there's still some points in the bank at the moment," Hart revealed.
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