WARRNAMBOOL and District league premier Panmure has landed its first off-season coup, signing Penshurst onballer Taylor McKenry for season 2013.
Friends and travel demands prompted McKenry to leave the Mininera league’s Bombers, where he has played most of his senior and junior football.
The 20-year-old premiership player arrives at Panmure with “big wraps”, according to coach Simon O’Keefe, and is likely to slot into a depth-laden midfield.
He is one of only a handful of recruits the Bulldogs will have when they start their premiership defence next season.
McKenry, a good mate of Bulldogs Daniel Roache and Ricky Glare, said he was excited about next season’s prospects.
He said the average age difference between players in the WDFNL and MDFL meant the football would be more free-flowing.
“I reckon it’ll be a lot quicker than what the Mininera league is like,” he said.
“A lot of older blokes get around in the Mininera league and there are a lot of young guys in the Warrnambool (and) District league.”
“It’ll be interesting to see how I go.”
McKenry said he considered testing himself in the Hampden league next season, before signing with Panmure.
He said he still wanted to play in the HFNL down the track.
“I thought about playing in the Hampden league this year but I thought I’d go out to Panmure with my mates and maybe give it a crack in a couple of years,” he said.
McKenry played as an onballer and a tagger at Penshurst and is keen to take on a similar role with the Bulldogs, something O’Keefe welcomed.
“He’ll fit into an onball rotation. He’s that good size, a clean six-foot (183 centimetres), so he can play off a flank and play on a tall,” O’Keefe said.
He said Panmure would be largely quiet on the recruiting scene, putting faith in the existing playing list and first-year seniors from the under 17s.
The coach had high praise for teenagers Tom Mahony, Tommy Jones, Dom Moloney and Dion Bellman during the pre-season.
He said the team’s major recruiting target was a centre half-back to fill the void left by Andrew “Billy” Edis, who will have a limited role due to work commitments.
“Maybe with X (Xavier) McKinnon, we can get him mid-season. He tore his Achilles at the start of the season,” O’Keefe said.
“We’ve got a couple of young guys who can take that gap anyway. We’re not worried about recruiting at the moment.
“It’s handy to get Taylor to stock up our midfield. There are young guys coming through and good players in the reserves coming through to fill those spots.”
Panmure will train next Monday and Wednesday before taking a break for Christmas. It will resume on January 23.