St Joseph’s quest for a quick return to the GFNL finals has received a substantial boost, with 2022 best-and-fairest James Gow returning to Drew Oval.
Gow played with Hampden league powerhouse Koroit this year after starring with Nightcliff in the Northern Territory competition last summer.
Joeys assistant coach Paul Hood says the club is looking forward to inserting Gow back into its midfield.
“James is such a well-rounded player and a great person as well; (he’s) really popular among the boys, as you would imagine,” Hood said.
“He was there supporting our netballers through their finals campaign, and he trained at the club this year and remained connected.
“He’s so good at winning the contested footy, and he’s also a great finisher on the outside that kicks goals as well.
“We’re absolutely delighted to have him back at the club.”
St Joseph’s has also confirmed the arrival of Gow’s 2022 GFNL Team of the Year teammate Jack Leonard from North Shore.
Leonard, who made a meteoric rise from Queenscliff’s reserves in 2021 to two VFL games with Geelong last year, made just nine appearances with the Seagulls this year.
“He will be a fantastic acquisition for our defence,” Hood said. “Jack’s got aspirations to play as much VFL footy as he can, and we wish him well with that.
“Hopefully, he’s playing there regularly. But, if he’s not, we’d love to have him across half-back for us and driving the ball forward.
“He’s a fantastic size for VFL and GFL footy; he’s a threat in the air and on the ground, and he’s a lovely kick from what we’ve seen at training.
“He spent some time in the coaches’ box in the back half of the year, so he’s well accustomed to who we are and what we’re trying to do.”
Hood has confirmed two-time premiership star Cal Mitchell won’t play next year as he heads overseas. At the same time, Marcus Oldham College duo Joey Chaplin and Angus McKay are likely to be missing due to course commitments outside of the region.
Premiership player Josh Hovey has already departed for Modewarre, where he will link up with his dad Mark, who is coaching the Warriors in 2024.
St Joseph’s will commence pre-season training on Monday, 27 November.
Meanwhile, Colac has received commitments from Bailey Scott, Tom Rienets, Jarrod Walters and Leigh Gorwell for the 2024 season.