By ZAC MILBANK
Glenelg has welcomed home a host of former Tiger cubs as it prepares to defend its Statewide Super League crown in 2020.
Bays juniors Billy Stretch, Matt Allen, Jackson Edwards and Curtis McCarthy will return to Brighton Road after stints interstate while former Central District ruckman Jack Hannath looms as the replacement for retiring premiership best-and-fairest winner Jesse White.
Stretch, who played 47 AFL games for Melbourne since 2015, will add valuable polish with his disposal by hand and foot while providing a presence inside and outside of the contest.
The 23-year-old – who played nine League games for the Bays in 2014 – will also set a high standard on the training track, leading by example for the youthful Tiger talent making their way through to senior level.
Allen will offer premiership coach Mark Stone plenty of versatility after the medium-sized forward transformed himself into one of the WAFL’s best big-bodied midfielders in 2019.
Unable to force his way into West Coast’s deep on-ball rotation, the 22-year-old averaged 21 disposals, four marks and four tackles in his 17 WAFL appearances this year after sharing East Perth’s best-and-fairest award with current Tiger Luke Partington in 2018.
MAIN IMAGE – (Left to Right) Billy Stretch, Jackson Edwards, Jack Hannath, Matt Allen, Curtis McCarthy
Hannath, who played 20 AFL games for Fremantle during the same period Stone served as an assistant coach with the Dockers, returns to SANFL ranks after finishing third in NT Thunder’s NEAFL best-and-fairest award this year.
The 28-year-old, who has also played 62 League matches for the SANFL Bulldogs, will provide the Bays with impressive mobility in the ruck for someone measuring in at 201cm and 102kg.
After spending last season in Victoria, Edwards – who played 14 SANFL games for Adelaide in 2018 – returns to potentially line up alongside younger brother Luke in the Statewide Super League next year.
McCarthy – the younger brother of Brisbane’s Lincoln McCarthy – arrives back at Tigerland after spending the past two years playing for St Joseph’s and Geelong’s VFL team.
Both aged just 20, Edwards and McCarthy will be given every chance to shine as they continue to develop at senior level under Stone’s tutelage.
”We are delighted to welcome back four of our “junior” players,” Glenelg Head of Football Paul Sandercock said.
”Matt, Curtis, Billy and Jackson return to the club after life in the AFL/VFL.
”They are all quality young men who will have an immediate impact on the playing group through their professionalism and talent.
”We also welcome Jack to the club. Jack fills the void left through Jesse’s retirement and his experience in the SANFL and AFL will be a major asset to the Glenelg Football Club.”