The Maitland Saints have boosted their stocks with the arrival of several BDAFL premier league experienced players at the club over the summer.
Star midfielder Ben Stewart has been coaxed out of retirement by the arrival of former Cardiff Hawks teammates Dustin Spriggs, Tim Sheldon and Tom Quade.
They will be joined by former Saint Dean Notman who moved to Cardiff last season to play premier league.
Notman was part of the Under-18 TAC program in Melbourne and will be a huge boost to the Saints defence with his organisational skills
Key defender Andrew Thompson from Nelson Bay has come across to play under his former coach David Ross, who is again at the helm of Maitland’s senior team after taking the side to the Division One grand final last year.
But perhaps the most exciting recruit is former Sydney Swans Academy and Pennant Hills player Matt Hall who has moved to the district to study at Tocal College for the next two years.
Saints recruitment manager Rob Eddy said his job had been made easy with all six new key signings coming to the club via word of mouth.
“The arrival of these guys is great for the club as it shows there is a real confidence in our future,” Eddy said.
“It really puts pressure on everyone to earn their place in the senior team and will give us the ability to groom our younger players with experienced quality players around them.”
Eddy said the only major loss from last year’s squad was former best and fairest Cameron Mitchell.
“We’ve boosted our key position players and added a fair bit of midfield running,” he said.
“It’s an important year for us. We are playing in the Black Diamond Plate this year but the league is planning to merge the senior competition into a single senior division with a reserve grade in the coming years.”
Eddy said the introduction of premier league players would help with the development of Maitland’s talented youngsters including Pat McMahon, Mitchell Greaves and Hayden Taylor who all played in the BDAFL’s under-21 rep team last year.
It will also enable star player Wade Beard to play more time forward in a key position role.
McMahon’s start to the season will be delayed after he suffered an infection while recovering from off-season surgery.
“Thankfully he has come through OK but it will take him time to get back to full strength,” he said.
The Saints men and women train each Tuesday and Thursday at Mac McMahon Oval.