The November player transfer period for community football closed on Wednesday, and it has no doubt been a frantic few days for club administration as they worked to finalise the paperwork before the deadline. And it has so far thrown up a few surprises, with several big names requesting transfers to other clubs.
Clubs that missed out submitting player clearances before the deadline need not fear, as player transfers will reopen again on February 1. Re-registration for existing players remains open.
Read SFNL Media's recap of the first player transfer period below, or view the full list of transfers to date HERE
The most active player in the League’s top grade has so far been St Kilda City, with a legion of high-profile signings set to bolster a list that has failed to make an impact in the competition over the last few seasons. Headlining the additions is Beau Runnells, a gun forward from Phillip Island that booted over 100 goals in 2015, and his brother Matt, a triple premiership player with Cora Lynn in the Ellinbank League. It will be the first time the two brothers have played together in the same senior team. Superstar Albion ruckman Troy Kelm also looks like a sensational acquisition for the Saints, replacing the outgoing Brad Neurath, as do Vermont’s Jaydon Styles, Doveton’s Keith Dobson and former Caulfield and Bentleigh young gun Nick Perry. Aaron Purvis and Cam Hansen have signalled their intentions to leave the Peanut Farm, while a host of Under 19 players, including phenom Mykelti Lefau, will likely follow dual U19 premiership coach Nathan Johns across to East Burwood.
[caption id="attachment_13529" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Star Albion ruckman Troy Kelm will be a welcome addition at the Peanut Farm.
Mordialloc has also been heavily involved during the transfer period, signing a quartet of experienced players from De La Salle Old Collegians in Tommy McMahon, Aaron Kneebone, Ben Humphrey and Tom Curry. In addition, the club also welcomes former Collingwood onballer Danny Nicholls, who makes his way to Ben Kavanagh Reserve via Drouin. Veteran forward Luke Kirkland has transferred to Wakool in the Golden Rivers league and to this point he remains their only departure.
[caption id="attachment_13530" align="aligncenter" width="233"] Former Magpie Danny Nicholls in his new colours.
East Malvern has kept its cards close to its chest throughout the transfer period with no official transfers lodged, but the Panthers are rumoured to have significantly bolstered its ruck stocks. Two top class ruckmen, including SFNL Interleague star Brad Neurath (ex-St Kilda City) and a former AFL big man, are reportedly close to signing with the club, while several other gun additions are mooted. Watch this space.
[caption id="attachment_13528" align="aligncenter" width="270"] Brad Neurath is close to signing at East Malvern.
Reigning premiers Dingley have also been relatively quiet on the recruitment front thus far, with Bonbeach's Troy MacKenzie their only incoming transfer to date. However, the rumour is that the Dingoes could secure the services of former stars Jackson Peet and Luke ‘Noodles’ Walmsley from struggling VFL club Frankston Dolphins, which would further strengthen an already dominant midfield.
Cheltenham have been busy luring a number of players from nearby VAFA clubs across to Jack Barker Oval, including Daniel Harrison and Will McTaggart (Old Haileybury), Dimi Papadakis (St Bedes/Mentone Tigers) and Richard Ryan (Beaumaris). Noble Park’s Theo Ktenas and Moorabbin Kangaroos’ Simon Sloss are also among the Rosellas’ inclusions.
Former Melbourne and Carlton player Chris Johnson will be back in familiar blue and red colours, having been recently announced as a playing assistant coach at Bentleigh, however the club will lose Grand Final stars James Robertson to Cheslea Heights and Ben Morrison to Richmond in Tasmania’s Old Scholars competition. Oakleigh District spearhead Dave Velardo and St Pauls' Matt Herbstreit have both submitted clearances to Devon Meadows and Kilcunda Bass Football Clubs respectively.
Meanwhile both Clayton and Division 1 newcomers Port Melbourne Colts have seen the departures of experienced players from their line ups. Clays coach Nick Scanlon announced at the club’s recent AGM that he would be stepping down from the role, and he will be heading back to Narre Warren alongside brothers Dean and Stewie, and ruckman Trent Papworth. Lee Boyle will also likely make his way to Ferntree Gully. The Colts, meanwhile, will lose premiership stars Brad Sutcliffe and Justin Taylor to Westmeadows, while teenage livewire Mitch Clarke has signalled his intention to join WRFL powerhouse Deer Park.
After disappointing seasons in 2016, Springvale Districts and Keysborough are looking to make amends with a host of new signings for next year.
Springvale in particular have been busy recruiting over the last few weeks. Daniel Wilson returns to Springvale Reserve after a season at Lyndale and bring with him the Pumas B&F runner up Steve Comino. The Demons are also close to securing the services of several Dingley Reserves and fringe players, including Stefan Feehan, Daniel Morris, and Tom Cooper and as well as Noble Park’s Jarrod Wright.
Former playing coach Chris Bryan will return to Keysborough in 2017 after a stint at Bonbeach. The former Collingwood and Carlton ruckman may be getting on a bit, but his size and experience will no doubt be a major asset to the Burras. Sandown Cobras captain Jake D’Artri has also made the switch across to Keysborough, alongside Beaconsfield pair Jonathan Hawes and Gerard Smith and Karingal’s Matthew Burnett.
[caption id="attachment_13527" align="aligncenter" width="650"] Chris Bryan will return to the Burras in 2017.
Caulfield has also been busy submitting several last-minute clearances before the deadline, with Fitzroy’s Ben Gardner and Tarwin’s Gabe Brennan among them. Inverloch-Kongwak’s Rowan Clark and Chris Spencer join the Bears in assistant coaching roles.
[caption id="attachment_13531" align="aligncenter" width="296"] Caulfield welcomes Rowan Clark as its new senior playing assistant coach.
In other key signings, Bentleigh veteran James Robertson crosses to Chelsea Heights, former East Brighton premiership player Mitch Backman returns to the club after a year at Broadbeach (Queensland) and Josh Canny joins Hampton from Stanhope Football Club.
[caption id="attachment_13532" align="aligncenter" width="391"] Mitch Backman returns to Hurlingham Park.
Meanwhile Clint Einseidel’s departure from Heatherton has come at a bit of a cost, with Matt van Schajik, Matt Goodman and Matt O’Rourke following him across to Trafalgar. However, Chris and Shaun Keenan will both join the Tonners next year from Tooradin-Dalmore.
The big news out of Division 3 has been the reported signing of former Melbourne high flier Russell Robertson to the Doveton Eagles. Although the transfer paperwork has yet to be officially lodged, the story has so far received widespread media attention. The high-profile AFL forward won’t play every week, but should qualify for finals and be a massive boost to the Eagles' flag hopes.
Lyndale have off-set its losses with the recruitment of Doveton (SEFNL) quartet Aron Elysee, Phillip Nanfra, Harley Primrose and Ashley Scott, as well as Cora Lynn’s Liam Toole.
In other signings, Ferntree Gully’s Brenton Amos will don the black and red colours of Black Rock next year, while former Pines Reserves coach Chris Smith is heading to Lyndhurst.
South Yarra, meanwhile, will enter 2017 without the services of talented onballer Jordan Cellini, who has been picked up by Pascoe Vale. A multiple club Best & Fairest winner, Cellini’s departure is a massive loss for the club.
Towering Hallam ruckman Jayden Bubb has also transferred to Narre Warren.