Wilston Grange has approached the off season with vigor in the recruiting space, grabbing ten new players, including six from NEAFL club Aspley.
Adam Hughes, Joey Daye, Clinton French, Ryan Thompson, Henry Leong and Lachie Nixon-Smith have all committed to the Gorillas after moving on from the Hornets.
Hughes fits in as an exciting goal kicker with over 100 NEAFL games to his name at the age of 25, while former Gold Coast SUNS player Joey Daye looks set to bring some elite experience and leadership to Grange, after co-captaining the Hornets in 2016.
Henry Leong comes back into the lineup as a defender and though Nixon-Smith only played one game for the Hornets in 2017, he’s another important young talent that the Gorillas needed to hold on to. Both were already aligned to Grange via Aspley, but have now made the switch.
Joining the swarm of Hornets are Alex Chapman and Michael Gallagher from Yepoon, along with Sandgate players Sam Gribble and Isaac Corvo.
Gribble is another one with plenty of NEAFL experience, having played for both the Brisbane Lions NEAFL side and Aspley. Corvo is a developing young talent with serious athletic ability that can play in almost any position.
In further positive news, midfield bull Mark DeSousa has re-signed for season 2018 and looks set to again play a pivotal role in the clinches.
“Wilston Grange has always been a community club, inviting new players to the club is just part and parcel of that,” said Gorillas Football Manager Lachie Sayer.
“Any new player brings a bit of new life to the club and we’re looking forward to seeing the impact they can provide and how they can help the young blokes develop on the track.
“There’s new life, new vigor at the club, there are really positive numbers down already to pre-Christmas training, I’m down here now on an optional night and we’ve got thirty to forty players.”
On the down side, prolific tall midfielder George Hannaford is heading North to Mackay, so won’t be with Wilston Grange for 2018. Grange will also lose spearhead Matthew Trewhella, who retired at the end of this season.
“Obviously we’re sad to see Matt go, he was incredible for the club,” said Sayer.
“Of course we weren’t excited to hear the news of retirement but you can’t begrudge the guy from wanting to do things his own way.
“I think that, again, it only brings opportunity.”
The Gorillas finished in eighth place on the QAFL ladder in 2017 with four wins, but the Northside club competed well with the top teams and showed promise with their ability to win the football at the contest.
By Sean Melrose