MERRIVALE recruit Jet Dowie is confident he has overcome a persistent knee injury which ruined his 2013 season.
The former Allansford key forward has signed with the Tigers for the 2014 Warrnambool and District league season, along with two-time Koroit premiership player Joe Woonton.
Dowie, 27, was restricted to two senior games in his third and final season at the Cats following fruitful 2011 and 2012 campaigns which netted him a combined 127 goals.
“My knee flared up. For a few years I needed a bit of a clean out and I kept putting it off and putting it off,” Dowie said.
“It got to the point where towards the last half of last year (2012) it would just swell up.
“I had a scrape out, trimmed all the cartilage back and had an operation.
“We found a few other things once we got in there — a bit of the enamel had worn off the bone — and I just had to take it easy for a long period of time.
“I tried training a couple of times and it just aggravated it.”
Dowie had a minor clean- up on his knee last Friday and is already noticing the benefits.
“In one week the improvement has been unbelievable,” he said.
“I start gym in about two weeks and start jogging in three weeks now and really start gearing the running up towards mid-December.”
Dowie, who wanted to play with best mates Josh Sobey, Brad Kelly and Josh Guiney, said he was excited to play a key role for the Tigers.
“I will probably try and free up Todd McLean back to the back line where he plays his best footy,” he said.
“That is the idea and probably help out a few young fellas like James Fary.”
The Tigers were bundled out of the finals last season in straight sets but expect to keep the bulk of their playing list intact.
“If we can have four or five guys kicking around 50 goals, that is probably the aim, rather than one or two kicking the bulk of them,” Dowie said.
“That’s more the aim of what we’ll try and do — spread the load, be unpredictable in the forward line and try and get a few mismatches happening.”
Woonton, 29, has spent the past two seasons at Northern league club Northcote Park.
The versatile tall, who played in Koroit’s 2007 and 2009 Hampden league flags, is close friends with new coach Karl Dwyer, a former teammate at the Saints.
Woonton has signed on as an assistant coach and will move back to Warrnambool in November.
Woonton said he’d played various roles throughout his career and was happy to play wherever the Tigers needed him.
“We are going to wait and see if I play forward or back. It’ll be whichever key position needs it more,” he said.
Dwyer said he was rapt with the two signings.
“Joe is an A grade player but I think more important than that is that he will show the young guys how to go about their footy,” he said.
Dwyer said Dowie had overcome his knee worries.