Wednesday 2 February 2011

Labrador have retained the bulk of their playing group for 2011 after going within a whisker of claiming their first QAFL premiership last season.

The Tigers have lost only veteran ruckman Peter ‘Spida’ Everitt, important defender Dustin Mills and speedster Luke Licht from their regular 22.

They have recruited eight players from regional Victoria to try and cover the losses, but done so in a strategic manner.

Each of those recruits is aged 23 or under and the Tigers placed a heavy emphasis on the newcomers being of good character.

The new brigade is led by Ryan Davey from Warragul, a four-time best and fairest winner and six-time Team of the Year member from the Gippsland competition.

The star onballers has been a regular member of the Victorian Country line-up and will add plenty to a midfield that matched it with the best last season.

Labrador enjoyed the best of their 14 seasons in the QAFL in 2010 when they made the grand final, but were overrun by Morningside in the last 10 minutes.

Experienced former AFL campaigners Aaron Shattock, Trent Knobel and Tim Notting have returned for the new North Eastern Football League season, with the trio among the best performers on the training track over summer.

“We realise that the level has been raised but our target is to play finals football again,” said club development manager Ryan Kogelman.

Kogelman added that new coach Denis Knight had impressed all at the club with his professionalism and enthusiasm.

An added bonus for the Tigers in 2011 is their inclusion in the national knockout competition involving the top two sides from every State outside the AFL.

The Tigers play their opening game against SANFL runners-up North Adelaide at the Gabba on 21 May in a match that will be telecast live around the country on FoxSports.

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