Bulls in good shape to end drought
Mt Barker coach Brad Hook believes the time for his side to strike is now as the Bulls look to end a 22-year premiership drought in the Great Southern Football League on the back of some strong recruiting.
With one of their best years in terms of player retention, the Bulls’ hopes of reaching a second grand final in four years will be boosted by the key signings of livewire East Fremantle forward Jesse Wynne and veteran Leigh Conway.
Wynne, who dominated for North Albany in 2017, played eight league games for East Fremantle last season, but has returned home and decided to join the Bulls.
The Bulls’ other marquee signing for 2019 is Conway, who last played for Fremantle CBC, and has 47 WAFL league games experience at East Fremantle under his belt from 2005-09.
Midfielder Jared Ismail is another strong addition, along with returning ruckman David Stone and youngster James Farmer.
Key forward Daniel Parker has returned to North Albany, and travelling player Darren Humble and youngster Aidin Williss are the only omissions thus far.
Parker kicked 28 goals for the Bulls last season but their forward line still looks potent with the likes of Kym Monteath, Wynne and Dionne Woods down there.
Having last won a league premiership in 1996, Hook, now in his second year as coach, said this season loomed as a perfect time to strike, given their list. “We got a lot from last year, we did really well as a club with three teams in finals,” Hook said.
“We have to keep that going. The place is pretty upbeat — we’ve got more young fellas coming through and had the highest retention of players we’ve had in 10 years.
“We’ve kept nearly everyone and got a couple of big recruits, so hopefully we can be right there.
“The premiership window is closing, so we’ve got to jump on it.
“We want to win a flag, it’s been 22 years since Mt Barker last won, and we want to be there on that last weekend.”
Peter Taylor will again captain the Bulls, who will miss Kym Monteath in the early part of the season, but after a few rounds should be at their best, according to Hook.
“We won’t have our best 22 in the first four, five rounds,” he said.
“We thought we have been close in the last couple of years and injures hit us right at the end last year.
“Jesse and Conway are the big two pick-ups, (Tyron) Miller is keen to come back from his Achilles after the mid-season break and guys like Chidda (Nic Chidgzey), (Adam) Tissott and (John) Lee look like playing their 50th games for us, which shows their commitment.”
The Bulls kick off their campaign against Royals at Centennial Stadium on Saturday.
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