The adage that players can be a football club’s best recruiting staff has rung true for Grovedale, with the GFNL club signing Goulburn Valley League representative Harley McCarthy.
The 190cm key defender, who finished runner-up in Tatura’s best-and-fairest, signed with the Tigers earlier this week after being courted by rival clubs.
“We spoke to him pre-Christmas, and he decided on Monday night that Grovedale was the club for him, which is great,” Spolding said.
“I think there were a couple of other clubs who had made contact.
“He’s moved down here to be with his partner, and he’s a school teacher by trade, so he’s picked up a job down here in Geelong and didn’t want to do the travel back to Tatura.
“And he’s friends with Jack Kelly, so that’s how we got on to him.”
A junior with Yarrawonga and Mulwala, McCarthy has played with Dunnstown in the Central Highlands League and Tiwi Bombers and Banks in the Northern Territory.
The 25-year-old joins the returning Tom Gillett (Boulder City) and Williamstown-listed Darby Henderson (Echuca) and newcomers Jas Long (Warrnambool) and Ajoung Maker (Yarraville-Seddon) as off-season additions at Burdoo Reserve.
Grovedale has also welcomed Tyler Cummins after three seasons with Portarlington.
“He jumped on board late last week,” Spolding said. “He lives with a group of boys who play already at Grovedale.
“Tyler’s a 188cm mid/forward and adds something that you can never have too many of.”
McCarthy’s arrival comes as Cam Delaney’s departure was confirmed by the veteran big man signing with Drysdale.
“Cam spoke to me when I took on the role, letting me know that he was more than likely not going to be playing at Grovedale,” Spolding said.
“It was a matter of whether he did play footy again and if it was going to be somewhere, it was going to be with his brother after Tim signed at Drysdale with the family connection down there.
“At no stage were we thinking we were going to have Cam in 2024.
“It would have been nice, but he’s chosen to step back a level with his footy, and that’s fine.
“He was a great servant of the footy club, and we wish him well.”
Classy half-forward Mitch Chafer remains in the mix for a spot on Werribee’s VFL list alongside fellow Tiger Cooper Whyte.
“They’re really impressed with him down there,” Spolding said of Chafer.
“I caught up with (coach) Jimmy Allen just before we went back to training, and he’s really impressed with him.
“Hopefully, Mitch can keep going really well there, and if he makes the list, great.
“If not, he’ll certainly come back to Grovedale a better player, having the pre-season that he’s had down at Werribee.”
Tommy Stephen, who impressed in his first season with the Tigers in 2023 after crossing from Geelong Amateur, is training with Port Melbourne.
“He’s going really well,” Spolding said. “He was at training last (Wednesday) night), and it was great to see him.
“He called in and said ‘G’day’ and was around the boys.”
Grovedale will play VAFA club Old Paradians and Western Region team Point Cook Centrals in practice matches before facing South Barwon at Burdoo Reserve in Round 1 on April 13.