Lions add to list

Lachie Brne has joined the Sunbury Lions (Mark Wilson)

Tara Murray

The Sunbury Lions have looked to strengthen their list and add some more depth in the Ballarat Football League.

Coming off some good football in the back half of 2021, the Lions are keen to make sure they are again in the mix.

Lions coach Travis Hodgson said they were pretty happy with how things were sitting.

“We only lost a couple of players, but we’ve added a fair bit,” he said.

“[Alik] Magin and [Mitch] Conn are big losses, but we only had them for two or three games.

“We won four of our last five games and played some really good footy without them. It highlighted our improvement that we could win without those guys.

“We added what we needed to and I expect us to play finals.”

Hodgson, who is in his fourth season at the club, said the back half of the 2021 season they had started to see some growth in the existing talent and was expecting to that to continue.

He said their reserves, which won the last reserves grand final in 2019, were also normally pretty strong.

The club has looked to fill some key holes they felt they had in the senior side.

The first was in defence, where they lacked some height.

Patrick Scanlon, who has come across from Rupertswood, is set to play at centre half back.

“He had a terrific year at Rupertswood,” Hodgson said. “He was in their best eight out of 11 games.

“We were a bit light on for height down back with players playing taller than they are.”

Hodgson said they had hoped they had addressed their need for more size in the middle of the ground with the signing of Ben Toman.

Toman is the brother of current Lions player Dan Toman.

“Aginst East Point we were pushed around a bit by the bigger bodies. Ben is about 6’2 and a is a similar runner to Daniel.

“I think we have added another dimension.”

Hodgson said probably the biggest need was to bring in reinforcements in their front half. He said while they could get the ball inside 50, they couldn’t convert and it proved costly as they lost a number of close games.

Blake Graham, who Hodgson coached at Bacchus Marsh, Cooper Andreson, who is on Essendon’s VFL list, along with Mathew Medcraft are all expected to provide targets.

Jake Sutton,who returned to the club late last season, is another they’re hoping will provide some goals.

The Lions have also secured five or six players from East Sunbury, which isn’t fielding senior teams this season.

Hodgson said they had signed four before the Thunder pulled the pin on the season.

He said Lachie Brne was one player who was likely to step straight into their starting side, with Will Wright and Callum Lever among the others to cross to the Lions.

The other key signing for the Lions is Mitch Lewis, but Hodgson doesn’t expect to see the VFL-listed player often.

Ruck Jayden Eales will return from a serious knee injury, after not playing a game last season.

Hodgson said while there would be some juggling with having several VFL players on the list, they were confident they would have a good team.

“We think we are pretty good when we get our best team together.”