Tom Boyd to play with Shepparton

By Alex Mitchell

Shepparton’s connection with VFL club Werribee has continued to pay dividends with two-time Nathalia premiership star Tom Boyd committing to the Bears.

Mobile key position swingman Boyd has earned a place on the Tigers’ list, but will head to Deakin Reserve when not picked, a huge boost to a Shepparton side aiming to cover its own VFL losses.

He will be one of three Werribee-listed Bears, joining Matt Ryan and Louis Pinnuck, at Shepparton, the latter having signed midway through last season, but not having played a game.

Bears coach Sean Harrap was delighted to get Boyd’s commitment.

‘‘We hope he plays a lot of games down there because it’s a great opportunity for him, but it’s great for us if he’s available here,’’ Harrap said.

‘‘I reckon he would have been pretty close (to AFL selection), he’s a big, tall lad and he can run pretty well.

‘‘We haven’t seen him train yet being based down in Melbourne, but he’s pretty good mates with Matt Ryan and those blokes that grew up in that Strathy area. It’s really exciting for us.’’

The Bears lost premiership heroes Nik Rokahr and Luke Smith to Geelong’s VFL list, with the duo to play for Geelong league club Bell Park.

Also departing Deakin Reserve are Jordan McGregor and Stuart Hobijn-Allen to Essendon District league clubs Strathmore and Pascoe Vale, respectively.

‘‘Stuey’s based in Melbourne and he felt that would be better for his football moving forward,’’ Harrap said.

‘‘He leaves us a premiership player and we wish him all the best, it probably didn’t pan out the way either party would have liked towards the end with not a lot of game time in the prelim or the grand final, but that’s football.

‘‘He’s leaving on good terms and he’s welcome back any time he wants.

‘‘Jordy is going down for uni in Melbourne and working most Sundays, he felt that was the best for his football.

‘‘He’s welcome back whenever he wants, he showed some really good signs with his development and his pace was a huge asset.’’

●Three of Echuca’s emerging young talents will be on VFL lists for the coming season.

Influential midfielder Noah Wheeler will be aligned to the Northern Blues, while power forward Angus Byrne has committed to Geelong, with midfielder Darby Henderson to have a second season on Williamstown’s list.

Echuca coach Simon Maddox said players getting a chance at the higher level was huge for the club.

‘‘It was one of our main goals when we came in, using Echuca as a stepping stone to playing at a higher level,’’ he said.

‘‘It also gives players at regional clubs a pathway, say a player at a Picola club, they can come here and have a good crack, and there’s a pathway to VFL football.

‘‘We use Andrew (Walker) and Ruory Kirkby as the model — we might lose them for two, three or four years, but they come back to us a better footballer.’’

The Murray Bombers have added former VFL talent Brock Kennedy to their list, signing from Melton, along with the full-time commitment of former Fremantle and Williamstown defender Peter Faulks.

Matt Dornauf will not return to the side, Lucas Denton will not play while travelling, while Shaun Gannon and Liam Wilkinson have retired.

●Euroa has acquired Mildura product Lewin Davis for the coming season, joining the Magpies from Port Adelaide’s SANFL list.

Also heading to Memorial Oval is Papua New Guinea product Hapeo Bobogi, from AFL Queensland.