Ever since Werribee Centrals entered the GDFNL in 1984, rarely, a pre-season goes by without a rival club muttering the phrase, “Gee, I haven’t headed much out of Centrals”.
And as the Centurions mark the 40th anniversary of their move from the old West Suburban League it’s an adage that still rings true in 2024.
This year, it’s been by design from coach Rhyce Prismall.
“We’ve added a couple of players,” he said.
“We’ve targeted players that we required rather than casting the net out there and trying to get whoever – we wanted people who wanted to be at the club.”
“So, I think we’ve added the right people. We got some good, really hardworking people that come in.
“That’s the No.1 positive I can say about them. Although they’re good players, and they’ll walk into our starting 22, they set a really good example for the other people at the club.”
Those new faces at Galvin Park are Connor McKenzie from Western Region grand finalist Point Cook and St Bernard’s duo Keegan Gilbert and Zac O’Halloran.
A ruckman, O’Halloran is a veteran of more than 200 games and was named in the Snowdogs’ 2010-19 Team of the Decade.
“He’s about 6’5″ (195 cm), so he’ll come in and really give Paddy Daley a chopout and also give us some height up forward,” Prismall said.
“Keegan had about 4-5 years off footy, came back, being a good mate of Zac’s, to St Bernard’s the last two seasons.
“He’s about 6’3” (190 cm), really athletic. I think being in our program, he’ll be a bit of a utility tall for us.
“Connor came to us through a couple of mutual friends; he knows Michael Culliver and Harly Kilby really well.
“Unfortunately, he missed Point Cook’s grand final due to a concussion. He’ll probably be a utility for us through the flanks and on the wing.”
Prismall is also excited about what Centurions’ under-18 program graduates can produce after playing finals in the AFL Barwon under-18 Division 2 competition in 2023.
“Max Murdoch, who played a handful of senior games in 2022, had a full year in the Colts last year; he’s come up, and his training standards are really high,” Prismall said.
“He’s really fit for a maturing body, and he looks like he’s going to be primed for more senior footy this year.
“It’s really good to see blokes like Kai Gomez, who’s the same age but played 15 games last year; he’s really matured and looks more comfortable in the environment.
“Coming out of their shell is the biggest thing with those young kids.
“And one that came to us late last year has put in a lot of work, Josh McDonald, I think’s going to have a much improved year.
“I think he was a bit disappointed with how he went last year, so he’s put in the work early and is starting to look good on the track.”
Chad Buck is the only confirmed departure from Centrals after the vice-captain called his time on an injury-impacted career.
The Centurions will have their annual pre-season camp at Bancoora on the first weekend of March ahead of practice matches against reigning Western Region premier Altona (March 16) and Essendon and District club Burnside Heights (March 23).
Centrals start their season with a trip down the highway for a clash with Corio on April 6.