Cleeland and Brett re-sign for 2018

Werribee has locked in two more of its current playing group by re-signing Jade Cleeland and Matthew Brett for season 2018.

The former Murray Bushrangers teammates have officially committed to Werribee for the club's first season as a standalone VFL entity in 19 years.

It will be the second season at Avalon Airport Oval for 22-year-old Cleeland, who joined Werribee last year from Ovens and Murray Football League outfit Wangaratta Magpies.

The versatile big man, who stands at 194cm and weighs in at 96kg, made an impressive start to his time in the VFL ranks, registering nine senior games and kicking two goals playing through the ruck and in key positions at both ends of the ground.

Cleeland said he was excited by the prospect of Werribee moving into its new $11.75 million training facility and hoped to continue to play a variety of roles as part of the new-look standalone side.

"I'm really excited and looking forward to the 2018 season," he said.

"I thoroughly enjoyed last season and didn't really have any plans of moving on, so having the big redevelopment obviously really makes you want to stay.

"I enjoy playing a couple of positions in the one game. In the middle, you're always around it, but when you're kicking a couple of goals, it's always fun to be up forward."

Brett, 23, enters his fourth full season with Werribee on the back of an injury-interrupted 2017 campaign that saw him restricted to seven Development League games.

Nonetheless, he has shown his ability to compete at the VFL level through his 13 senior appearances for the club across 2015 and 2016 as well as a single game with Collingwood in 2013.

Having made a strong return to the field in the second half of 2017, which included playing a crucial defensive role for Goulburn Valley Football League grand finallist Shepparton in its September campaign, Brett said he was looking forward to pressing his case for a return to the VFL ranks as part of a non-AFL-aligned club.

"It's good to be back at Werribee. I'm happy to re-sign and come back to the club," he said.

"There are obviously some very exciting times coming forward. We're standalone for the first time in a long time, so it's a good opportunity for the footy club to prove itself and for us to see if we can do it on our own.

"I know I can play at this level. The coaches show a lot of support in me, so I just want to prove it to myself and make every post a winner."

Werribee senior coach John Lamont said both Cleeland and Brett had the potential to take big strides forward as part of the new-look side in 2018.

"These boys have come to Melbourne primarily for football and to get the opportunity at the higher level, so it's great they're continuing with us," said Lamont.

"Jade played some good footy for us in the seniors. The first year is always tough when you're getting used to Melbourne and the higher standard of footy, but he acquitted himself really well, so hopefully he'll be able to fill a role for us again this year, primarily as a ruck and key forward.

"Matt was unfortunate last year in that he had a couple of little injury setbacks. After that, his season never really got going again, so we're looking for an improved year from him because he's definitely got the capacity to play senior footy and develop into a good VFL player.

"He plays a good, aggressive brand of footy, he's flexible in that he can play at both ends of the ground, he's strong in the air, and he competes well and understands the game pretty well."

WERRIBEE PLAYERS OFFICIALLY ANNOUNCED FOR 2018

Max Augerinos
Kurt Aylett
Charlie Bance
Ryley Barrack
Joel Bennett
Jack Berry
Harry Boyd
Matthew Brett
Dominic Brew
Nick Buykx
Jade Cleeland
Sam Collins
Joshua Corbett
Nick Coughlan
Kye Declase
Tom Gribble
Matthew Hanson
Luke Hitch
Brydan Hodgson
Andrew Hooper
Nathan Laracy
Ben McNamara
Isaac Miller
Ben Moloney
Joshua Mould
Matthew Munro
Nick Nott
Louis Pinnuck
Brenton Rees
Jake Sharp
Michael Sodomaco (C)
Brad Xavier
Jack Williams

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