Magpies face tough task given losses
Denmark-Walpole will have to cover for the loss of a host of first-choice players in their bid to play finals in the Great Southern Football League this season.
With new coaches Ryan Gaerth and Simon Barker at the helm, the Magpies have been decimated by player departures since finishing fifth last season.
Star midfielder Jaden Guidi looms as the biggest omission, deciding not to play in 2019, while young trio Codey Baxter, Liam Park and Hayden Parker have also left.
Guidi formed a formidable partnership with Gaerth in the middle last season, polling eight votes in the Kleemann Medal in his return to the GSFL.
Baxter has moved to Perth and Parker is on the Claremont colts list, while Park has transferred to rivals Railways.
Adding to that news is the departure of Hayden Collard to return to Dowerin, plus Luke Marley, Parris Ropiha and veteran Dylan Judd.
Rebounding defender Alec Haskins is the prize recruit for the Magpies, returning to the club he won a premiership with in 2010, after playing with North Albany for the past few seasons.
Former West Perth big man Shayne Zanetti has committed to a full season with the Magpies after featuring in only seven games in 2018, when he kicked 19 goals.
The Magpies are also hopeful of regaining versatile star Dave MacDonald, who has been training in the pre-season, after a long playing absence.
Gaerth said his club were still very active in the recruiting phase on the eve of the new season.
“As you can tell, we are missing a few,” Gaerth said.
“We are still active and trying to pick two or three up, but we haven’t got a lot so it looks pretty tough, I would have thought.
“We had a couple of (travellers) pencilled in and then they pulled out in the last couple of weeks so we are making calls and chasing people.” Last season the Magpies won five games, three of which were against Albany, their first-up opponent this season.
Gaerth said his side would still be aiming to play finals and would rely on their core group of senior players including the likes of Tyler Stone, Brody Hickey, Hendrix Ropiha and Lee Gropp.
“If we can sneak into the final considering what we have and with the oval dramas, that would be quite good,” he said.
“Tyler and Brody have had good pre-seasons and if they can stay injury-free will be key for us, along with Hendo and Groppy and throw in Haskins down back as well.”
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