TWO of the best-known players at cross-town rivals Melton and Melton South have traded places ahead of the start of the Ballarat Football League season.
Interleague midfielder Matthew Notman has asked to be cleared to Melton while veteran defender Craig Searle is training with Melton South.
Both players have had their clearances denied but are likely to get to the clubs of their choice after some horse-trading.
Melton South coach Mathew Sutton said the Panthers had virtually conceded they had lost Notman to the Metricon Bloods.
“The fact it is the cross-town rival probably doesn’t help,” Sutton said.
“At the moment he is a contracted player but I’ve virtually conceded he’s gone. As a club we have to stick by our guns and he is replaceable. We had heard that he was going to move there. Everyone at the club took a pay cut so we could recruit but he didn’t want to.”
Sutton said Searle’s decision to cross from MacPherson Park happened “out of the blue”. He said the experienced defender would slot straight ino the Melton South backline.
“It was a pleasant surprise. I’ve played against Craig and he’s a ripping bloke. He just turned up and now he’s training the house down.”
Melton South has also signed former Trentham pair Corey and Dion Lawson.
The Lawson brothers had been linked at various stages during the off-season to Sebastopol, Ballan and Kyneton but have since put in clearances to join the Panthers.
Ex-Altona and Werribee player, Simon Collis, is also at Melton Recreation Reserve, along with another former Melton player Jaiden Spicer.
“We’ve picked up four midfielders and we’ve got half a dozen under-18.5s who could go through the midfield, so it’s going really well,” Sutton said.