Wangaratta Rovers have thrown down the challenge to the league's other top outfits by snaring five new players in a stunning coup, including 2018 Morris medallist Brodie Filo in the Ovens and Murray Football League.
Speculation had been strong for weeks that the former Wodonga Raiders' wizard was again linking with coach Daryn Cresswell and he'll be joined by another ex-Raiders' midfielder in Todd Bryant, while the pair has been joined by Werribee-listed key position Tom Boyd and Southern Districts' on-ballers Jake McQueen and Jack Ganley.
The mercurial Filo was one of the league's most exciting players during a two and a half year stint and could well have won another Morris Medal, but for a broken jaw late in 2017.
Cresswell has often said Filo is the best player he's coached outside the AFL.
"I've been watching him the last three weeks (in the Northern Territory Football League), he's playing some good footy, he still moves and kicks the ball the same," Cresswell offered.
"I think it's pretty well documented Brodie and I have a really strong relationship, I respect Brodie and I think I get the best out of Brodie."
McQueen and Ganley are also playing in the NTFL, but at Southern Districts.
"I spoke to (former North Albury and Myrtleford coach) Travis Hodgson about them and he has a very big wrap on them," Cresswell revealed.
"Jake McQueen's got a lot of Brodie Filo in him with his foot skills and ability to kick goals.
"Jack Ganley's a big body, he's a bit like (Rovers' 2021 midfielder) Tyler Cornish, he's hard and quite tall, around 188-190cms."
Cresswell also has an enormous opinion on Bryant and Boyd.
"Tom is a Nick Murray (former O and M and current Adelaide player), about 195cms, beautiful hands, can play forward or back, probably what we needed was a bit of height," he said.
Former player Dylan Wilson has also joined the club with a handful of other one-pointers expected to join him in the coming days.
Cresswell is also hoping a key forward will sign well before Christmas and while speculation was strong that Daniel Bowles was Rovers-bound, the coach stressed he hasn't signed.
IN OTHER NEWS:
Although the season is still four months away, Rovers, Albury, Wangaratta and Myrtleford again look likely to push for the top four.
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