Kangas say missing stars are replaceable

Headshot of Cameron Newbold
Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser

Defending premiers North Albany have recruited strongly in their bid for a fourth straight Great Southern Football League premiership after losing a stack of talent including Kleemann medallist Matt Smith and Plaisted medallist Daniel Parker in a busy off-season.

After downing Mt Barker in a thrilling grand final last season to secure a third successive flag, the Kangas were quickly shocked by the news that the competition’s best player and the leading goalkicker were switching to their grand final rivals.

However, the Kangas have been buoyed by the return of 2010 Kleemann medallist Kris Ericson from NSW and rebounding defender Brent Clarke, while talented junior Jesse Wynne, forward Beau Rogers and Angus McKercher are among other inclusions.

Premiership players Smith, Parker, Nathan Crudeli, Stewart Davies, Addison Dew, Marcus Trevenen and Elliott Smith will be missing from the line-up but coach Craig Dew believes his side is extremely well placed in its quest for another premiership.

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“I think we had nine changes from the 2015 to 2016 premiership side,” Dew said.

“I reckon it’s par for the course.

“We’ve got great kids coming through, have had a talented reserves group and have recruited really well.

“I’m happy with our depth and the development of our juniors, plus we retain that solid core group of really good senior players.”

Dew said although it was difficult to replace Smith and Parker, their absence would provide opportunities to others.

“While you can’t replace a Matty Smith there is more midfield time for others,” he said. “We will be less predictable without Parksy and spread the load more.”

Young trio Addison Dew, Mitch Lenegan and Rhett Lloyd are playing colts with Claremont, ruckman Davies has gone to Albany, Crudeli is overseas and defender Elliott Smith is travelling. But Dew says the Kangas are firmly in the mix to make it four in a row.

“That’s been our real focus in the pre-season (winning four straight),” he said.

“Our club has only done it once before and we have to improve because we know Mt Barker will be stronger and Royals will be a force as well.

“Our expectation is to win.

“We go in with the belief we can win the premiership.”

Former Bulls Michael Wright and Ivor Williams and Collegians’ Tom Bigwood have joined the Kangas and youngster Nathan Shanhun has returned.

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