Port Fairy lands big Cats

PORT Fairy’s pre-season is gathering serious momentum, with former AFL footballer Jaxson Barham signing for the 2014 Hampden league season.

Geelong VFL-listed utility Jackson Hollmer will join Barham, an ex-Collingwood midfielder, at the Seagulls.

Second-year Port Fairy coach Sam Rudolph said the Seagulls were rapt to land the highly-talented pair.

Rudolph said the off-season signings were a step forward for the club, which broke a 48-game winless streak in 2013.

The double recruiting coup is another confidence-booster for Port Fairy after it landed accomplished VAFA midfielder Aaron Shields in November.

“It means we are attracting people of all different backgrounds and they are hearing Port Fairy is on the turn,” Rudolph said.

“A lot of people are saying it’s a fun club to be at and professionally it’s stepping up.”

Barham has ended his four-year association with Geelong’s VFL squad and will play solely for Port Fairy in 2014.

Hollmer will don Seagulls colours when Cats commitments permit.

Barham, whose father Ricky was drafted to Collingwood from South Warrnambool in 1977, made a stunning AFL debut against Brisbane in round four 2009.

He collected an AFL Rising Star nomination for his 28-disposal and nine-tackle effort against Lions’ triple premiership midfielder Luke Power.

But Barham played just five more games that year and was restricted to one appearance in the Magpies’ 2010 premiership season before he was delisted.

The Collingwood father-son draftee then spent four years on Geelong’s VFL list and played 15 games for the grand final-bound Cats last season.

Barham, who listed Lorne as his home club in 2013, played in the Cats’ grand final side which also featured Koroit export Dom Gleeson and ex-South Warrnambool defender Matt Sully.

“I know he has a lot of speed and I dare say he’ll play on a wing or at half-back,” Rudolph said.

“I guess he’ll bring a bit more professionalism to the club and knows how to look after himself with fitness and diet.

“Having someone of his quality boosts the guys.”

Rudolph said Hollmer, from Lara, was a versatile tall capable of pinch-hitting in the ruck.

“He might come down to a few training sessions and will try and make Boag’s Cup depending on practice matches,” he said.

“He’s excited by that and is already pencilling in games.”

Rudolph said the Seagulls returned to pre-season training on Monday night.

The key defender said 36 players tackled a beach session on Wednesday night in a bid to combat the heat.

Port Fairy has suffered one blow to its 2014 ambitions, losing star ruckman Sandy Robinson — considered an AFL draft roughie last November — to VFL club Port Melbourne.

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