Resurgent Blues ready to get physical

NEW Nirranda coach Aidan Cole is confident his men will provide a greater physical challenge next Warrnambool and District league season.

The Blues yesterday revealed the fruits of their off-season recruiting hunt, with eight new players to don the navy blue jumper in 2014.

Cole, a former Cobden and Warrnambool key position player, heads the list and will play at either centre half-forward or centre half-back.

His brother Ashley Cole, a ruckman who has played at Cobden and South Colac, has also signed on and gives the Blues a stronger presence at stoppages.

Sam Rix and Luke Kensit have crossed from Cobden, as have Camperdown’s Michael Boyd and Dennington’s Leigh Mugavin.

Allansford pair Brad and Aaron Smith are the final pieces of the recruiting puzzle. 

The brothers’ father John was a triple premiership player at Nirranda.

On top of the recruits, ruckman Tim Abraham will return from a serious knee injury which derailed his 2013 campaign.

Former coach Brad Wiggins, who has retired, is the only confirmed departure, while the club is still in discussions with other recruits.

The player influx comes 12 months after Nirranda, then under Wiggins, added youth with a view to the future.

The Blues finished eighth with a 7-11 record, beating elimination finalist Allansford in the run home but ruing a couple of narrow losses.

Adding height and depth has been the off-season priority.

“That’s the way we went. We sat down and had a talk and found we didn’t need a hell of a lot,” coach Cole said.

“We worked on a good-sized ruckman. Obviously Ash has come on board and Tim, he’ll be able to get back in there.

“We were looking for another running-type player down the wing and Luke Kensit will fit that role really well.

“And we were looking for another key back or forward. I wasn’t sure which end I’d play and Mick Boyd will help us across the half-back line.”

Despite shoring up the back line, Cole said he was still uncertain where he would play. “Practice matches, we’ll find out where blokes play.”

He is confident Nirranda will have the physical presence to take it up to bigger-bodied sides in the WDFNL.

“The game plan I’m looking for the boys to play, who we’ve recruited will strengthen that up,” he said.

“If we do have to kick long down the line, we have those bigger blokes.

“We’re still talking to a few boys at the moment.  They’re not wanting to make a decision until after Christmas.

“Hopefully after Christmas we’ll have a couple more names that spring up.”

afawkes@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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