The Benalla All Blacks have signalled their intentions for next year’s Ovens and King Football League season with a strong recruitment period.
The Panthers have signed no less than six additional players to strengthen their line-up.
The side has also crucially retained all of its first-team players from the season just passed.
Head coach Harry Moran was particularly pleased to have every player from the past season commit to the Panthers once again.
Former Benalla Saints player Jayden Guppy headlines the Panthers’ signatures, and is a player Moran described as an ‘‘elite signing.’’
After playing for the Panthers in 2016, Guppy signed with the Saints for last season, but has since been swayed to return to Friendlies Oval.
‘‘We’ve got a couple of signings up our sleeve now, our recruitments have been good,’’ Moran said.
‘‘To re-sign Jayden Guppy from the Saints is great.
‘‘He went back to the Saints last year, and now is with us.
‘‘He’s another elite player to add to our ranks.’’
Along with Guppy’s name on the dotted line, the Panthers have snagged Ben Pretty, Will Ellis, Zach Cooke, Lochie Mayes, and Austin Thomson for the 2018 season.
Moran said Pretty was another big signing for the club and he hoped his impact was made quickly.
‘‘Ben Pretty was a long-time servant, but couldn’t play for us for a while because he was actually finishing a law degree this year,’’ he said.
‘‘So he’s back in at centre half back and will add another dimension with his height, too.’’
Moran said other signings were a ‘‘few young blokes’’, but mentioned young Lochie Mayes as a name to watch.
‘‘He (Mayes) is from the Saints, too. Him and Pretty are the two more elite signings, and the other young fellas are good for the club,’’ Moran said.
The Panthers will kick off their preseason training on December 11, having finished their season later than other sides in the league.