Werribee has secured a double dose of Geelong-based talent by signing the St Joseph’s pair of Brenton Rees and Ben McNamara for season 2018.
Rees, 22, and McNamara, 19, have made the move to Avalon Airport Oval to join Werribee for its first season as a standalone VFL club in 19 years fresh from the success of the Joeys’ second Geelong Football League premiership in three years.
It provides another opportunity at the VFL level for Rees, who previously spent two years on Geelong’s VFL list.
Originally from Sale, the Gippsland Power product made the move to Geelong to study at Deakin University in 2014, during which he caught the attention of the Cats by being named GFL Rookie of the Year in his first season with St Joseph’s.
The hard-running midfielder went on to play 25 games and kick 12 goals with the Cats from 2015 to 2016 before returning to the Joeys to play a crucial role in their premiership campaign this year.
Having now tasted grand final glory in his year out of the VFL, Rees said he was thrilled to be given another opportunity alongside his premiership teammate.
“It sort of came out of the blue a little bit,” he said of his call-up from Werribee.
“I was just waiting on the pre-season, just doing my own training, and I got the call from [recruiting manager Ange Cristoforo] and was pretty shocked and stoked to get the call.
“Unfortunately, I missed out last year [on another season with Geelong], but I was lucky enough to win the flag at Joey’s, and I hope my VFL experience will hold me in good stead at Werribee next year.
“With Benny on board and a few others [from the Geelong region], there’s no doubt it’s a very exciting time.”
McNamara can also count a few familiar faces among his new teammates, the former Torquay junior having played alongside the likes of Max Augerinos and the recently signed Joel Bennett as a member of the 2016 Geelong Falcons side.
The latest in a long line of Falcons graduates to find their way to Werribee, the defender said he was looking forward to the challenge of VFL football after being lucky enough to play in a premiership in his first year of senior football.
“It’s pretty exciting. It’s a pretty good spot down here,” McNamara said.
“There’s a lot of opportunity, and the way the coaches presented it to me, it was pretty appealing.
“We’ve got the new facilities and a good bunch of blokes down here, a few Geelong boys I know, and it was nice to hear Reesy was coming down here to give me a familiar face to talk to and relish in a bit of last year’s glory.”
Werribee coach John Lamont said he was impressed by what he had seen from both players so far.
“Brenton has still got a desire to play VFL footy and play the best footy he can, which is something that we really like: blokes who are driven by playing the best footy they can and extending themselves and getting out of their comfort zone,” said Lamont.
“He’s jumped at the opportunity and has already had a positive impact at training.”
“Ben has a bit or hardness and competitiveness about him, is pretty cool under pressure, and tends to make pretty good decisions, so we think after a year of GFL footy with St Joseph’s, where he played in a premiership team and was a valuable contributor through their finals series, that he can make a valuable contribution to the club.”
Werribee players officially announced for 2018
Michael Sodomaco (C)