Maishman and McFarlane re-sign for 2018

Werribee will have no shortage of speed in its playing ranks after re-signing the hard-running pair of Joe Maishman and Dane McFarlane for season 2018.

Maishman (21) and McFarlane (24) have signed on for a fourth and third year at Avalon Airport Oval respectively and what will be Werribee's first as a standalone VFL outfit in 19 years.

The duo's recommitment also reinforces Werribee's ever-strengthening links with the Geelong region, both players hailing from and having spent their formative footballing years in "the Pivot".

Part of a growing number of Geelong Falcons TAC Cup graduates to make their way up the highway, Maishman has played 38 games in three seasons with Werribee.

A broken thumb delayed the start to his 2017 campaign, but the former St Mary's junior looked in career-best touch playing across a variety of roles in his return to the senior ranks, kicking three goals against the Northern Blues in round nine and producing a best-on-ground performance with his explosive midfield run in a losing effort against Sandringham in round 11.

Maishman said he was looking forward to the opportunity to continue developing his game and showing his versatility as part of standalone side.

"It's good to be back on board for 2018. It's been a good pre-season, and I can't wait to get started," he said.

"A lot of the boys are keen to stamp their mark with the playing group we've got, so we're looking forward to it.

"I think one of my strengths is that I can push forward or onto a wing or play through the midfield, so hopefully I'll continue building in all those areas."

McFarlane is something of veteran of the state-league system, having played 23 of his 53 VFL games with Geelong between 2013 and 2015.

He arrived at Werribee ahead of the 2016 season as a wing/half forward but has worked hard to transform himself into a rebounding defender, using his natural pace to take the game on from the backline.

The former Modewarre and Newtown & Chilwell star said he had enjoyed the opportunity to work with experienced defensive recruits such as former Docker Sam Collins and ex-Saint Nick Coughlan through the pre-season and was now looking forward to the club moving into its redeveloped training and administration facility.

"It's always exciting with new facilities, but [going standalone] is probably what we're looking forward to the most," McFarlane said.

"We've made [the last two years] work, but we're really looking forward to being able to play with the same guys we train with."

"These guys [Collins and Coughlan] have come off AFL lists, so it's really exciting for us. I'm just trying to be best mates with them and get the handball receives for a few cheap touches."

Werribee senior coach John Lamont said he expected both players to be an important part of his side's makeup in 2018 given their experience and pace.

"We're certainly looking forward to them taking space when they get the ball in their hand. They've both got genuine speed," said Lamont.

"Joe is just at the stage where he's got a really good understanding of what it's all about, so we're really looking forward to him being able to grow and expand his game to play in a variety of roles.

"We want to develop a midfield group that's going to bat pretty deep and can roll around and cover for each other, and we see Joe as a key part of all that.

"Dane has also been around a bit now, so we're probably expecting a bit more of him, but I'm also understanding he's learning a new position and that it does take time.

"But we're pleased with his progression as a player and rapt that he's returned, so we hope the next milestone for him will be 50 games with Werribee and then he pushes on to even more."

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
Joe Maishman
Ben McNamara
Dane McFarlane
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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