Werribee’s longest-serving player is set to go around again, with Nathan Laracy committing to the club for season 2018.
The veteran defender has signed on for what will be his ninth season at Avalon Airport Oval and the club’s first as a standalone VFL outfit in 19 years.
Laracy said Werribee’s move to become an unaligned entity was a huge incentive for him to continue on and something he had been hoping for since first venturing down from his hometown of Barnawartha in northeast Victoria to join the club in 2010.
“I’ve always looked forward to this day coming,” the 28-year-old said.
“Having our own side is what I’ve been looking forward to for the last nine years, just having our own team and being able to drive out own standards and stuff like that.
“You really know where you’re at in this sort of group. The environment is just fantastic.”
Despite being restricted to 32 VFL games in his eight years at Werribee, Laracy has established himself as one of the club’s most popular and admired players thanks to his toughness, determination, and team-first ethos.
After serving as captain and taking out the best and fairest for the Development League side in 2013, he was able to entrench himself in the senior lineup later the following year, ultimately going on to be named Werribee’s 2014 Player of the Finals.
An ongoing posterior cruciate ligament injury has sidelined him for much of the past two seasons, but he nonetheless managed to return to the Development League side late in 2017 to notch the significant milestone of 100 club games.
The former Murray Bushranger and Wodonga Bulldog has also used his time on the sidelines to help others, taking an active role in mentoring young players and last year shaving off his trademark bushranger beard to raise money for Werribee Mercy Hospital.
Having recently undergone surgery on his troublesome knee, Laracy said he was hopeful of a long-awaited return to VFL football in 2018.
“I had [my knee] done about three months ago now, and it’s getting there,” he said.
“It has its days where it pulls up sore, but I’m on track to run in a couple of weeks, so we’ll see how that process goes.
“Hopefully it pulls up well and we can really try to push for round one.”
Werribee football operations manager Stuart Balloch praised Laracy’s commitment over the years despite his setbacks and said the club was looking forward to the hard-nosed backman again being in the frame for VFL selection.
“It’s very rare that you have someone who will commit themselves to a program and continue while maybe not getting some level of opportunity,” said Balloch.
“That shows a lot of character and determination.
“Nathan has been dealt a pretty harsh hand with injury recently. Prior to that, he was probably our number-one lockdown defender.
“He did a really good job on Robin Nahas in the 2014 elimination final against North Ballarat, so it’s going to be very exciting to see him back out there.
“When he’s at full strength, he’s definitely in our best 22.”
Werribee players officially announced for 2018
Michael Sodomaco (C)