2018 Hampden league summer series: Camperdown in the spotlight

MAGPIE ARMY: (clockwise) Fraser Lucas, Riley Arnold, Jack Williams and Laclan Bone hope they can lift Camperdown back into finals contention in 2018.
MAGPIE ARMY: (clockwise) Fraser Lucas, Riley Arnold, Jack Williams and Laclan Bone hope they can lift Camperdown back into finals contention in 2018.

In the fourth of a 10-part summer series, The Standard looks at why Camperdown fans should be buoyant about the 2018 Hampden league season.

1: Home factor

Fraser Lucas, Luke Mahony and Nick Bateman return to Leura Oval as Camperdown follows the trend of luring home-grown talent back. Fourth-year Magpies coach Phil Carse believes the trio – utility Lucas, inside midfielder Mahony and defender-turned-forward Bateman – will play major roles. “It’s hard to attract players from outside of your town to be honest,” he said. “Being able to get home-grown (players) back is probably your number-one priority. On top of that, they’re one-point players and with the cap these days that’s another consideration.” Lucas is coming off a strong season with Ovens and Murray club Myrtleford.

GIANT LEAP: Luke Mahony is returning to Camperdown after a stint at Southern Mallee Giants. He played in two Horsham and District league premierships during his time away. Picture: Wimmera Mail-Times

GIANT LEAP: Luke Mahony is returning to Camperdown after a stint at Southern Mallee Giants. He played in two Horsham and District league premierships during his time away. Picture: Wimmera Mail-Times

2: Star power

Creative defender Jack Williams and his VFL-listed mate Jason Robinson will add class to the Magpies’ best 21 when they’re available. They will also team up at Werribee. Carse said Robinson would be a handy inclusion. “He’s played 30 or 40 senior VFL games for Werribee so he’s a high-quality player,” he said. “He’s a 193-centimetre running utility. He plays on the wing or he can play across half-forward and has a nice left-foot kick. He’s good friends with Jack Williams so we’ve been lucky enough to get both of them onboard.”

3: Retention

The Magpies, who focused on blooding teenagers in 2017, have kept their list together and sprinkled experience on top. Carse believes stability can help launch their return to finals after a season on the outer. “We’ve really been happy with our retention from last year,” he said. “Other than Jordan Bain up to Queensland and Daniel Seehusen retiring, the rest of the list will be intact which has been a big improvement on previous years.”

4: The next tier

There is ample youth staking a claim for a best 21 spot at Camperdown – something which pleases Carse. “We think we have enough games into our younger guys across the last few years – guys like Riley Arnold, Lachie Bone and Charlie Lucas with the way they’re training at the moment, they’re all ready to take their games to the next level,” he said.

IMPROVEMENT THIS WAY: Camperdown is confident Charlie Lucas can become a consistent senior footballer and help the Magpies soar in 2018.

IMPROVEMENT THIS WAY: Camperdown is confident Charlie Lucas can become a consistent senior footballer and help the Magpies soar in 2018.

5: Way forward

The Magpies are confident they can cover the loss of leading goalkicker Bain. The returning Bateman and Jacob Mahony, coming off a shoulder reconstruction, will team up. “We feel like we’re bringing two key forwards into the mix,” Carse said. “Nick made interleague team a few years ago as a centre half-back but he’s been playing more as a forward the last few years (at Woorndoo-Mortlake).”