Werribee has shored up more of its backline talent for 2019 by re-signing the defensive duo of Ryley Barrack and Dane McFarlane.
The new deals will see fourth seasons in the “big W” for both players, who have emerged as two of their club’s big breakout stars in recent years.
Barrack has made 38 senior appearances for Werribee since arriving at Avalon Airport Oval in 2016 by way of Mildura South Football Club and the Bendigo Pioneers TAC Cup program.
The 21-year-old played in a variety of roles in his first year before locking down his defensive post with a stunning sophomore season that saw him narrowly beaten for the club best and fairest by three-time winner Matt Hanson.
McFarlane is preparing to enter his seventh season in the VFL, having played 22 games in three years with Geelong in addition to his 48 games with Werribee.
Those numbers place the 25-year-old among the club’s more senior contingent, though he has only emerged as a hard-running defender capable of launching dangerous counterattacks with his blistering speed in the past two years, having previously spent most of his time up forward.
He came into his own in the role in 2018, netting a career-best finish of fifth in the Werribee best and fairest – just one vote behind captain and fellow rebounding backman Michael Sodomaco – after being named in his side’s best seven times throughout the year and twice earning best-afield honours.
Werribee football operations manager Stuart Balloch said the retention of players such as Barrack and McFarlane would provide crucial stability in a new-look defensive lineup set to feature former AFL players Daniel Nielson, Max Spencer, and Timm House and former Sydney Swans Academy player Ryan Hebron.
“They’ve been two of our most improved players over the past two years, no doubt,” Balloch said of the returning pair.
“Ryley just about won a best and fairest in 2017, and Dane went to another level last year in his willingness to back himself in taking on the opposition and running the ball out of defence.
“As much as the new guys coming off AFL lists will be a real boost for us, it’s important to keep some continuity down there, so it’s great to now have these two guys locked away on the back of commitments from our skipper and guys like Nick Coughlan, Jack Henderson, and Louis Pinnuck.”
Werribee has now secured more than half its list for 2019, the new deals for Barrack and McFarlane taking its total signings to 23.
WERRIBEE 2019 SIGNINGS