CHFL: Hepburn new key forward in Michael Watt

HEPBURN looks as though it might have found a replacement for spearhead Lee Cox, with the signing of key position player Michael Watt.

Watt, the brother of former North Melbourne defender Shannon, has joined the Central Highlands Football League reigning premier, which has been left without a target forward following news Cox would be leaving the club to play with Tooleybuc-Manangatang in the Central Murray competition this season.

Cox was a dominant figure with Hepburn for seven years, winning three premierships and booting nearly 900 goals.

But the club is not putting any pressure on Watt, who has not played football for three years.

The former Hamilton boy last played for Redland in the strong North East Australian Football League.

Burras coach Clive Raak said Watt was not expected to become the team’s standout goal-kicker, with the focus shifting to a spread of players contributing to the scoring.

“He’s not a big build, just in really good shape. He looks fit and we are looking forward to having him,” Raak said.

“He will start in the forward line and we’ll see how he goes through the practice matches.”

Raak expected 40 to 50 goals from Watt and said he would have no hesitation in playing him down back, particularly considering he had spent time there while with Redland.

Watt is not the only brother of an AFL player to join the Burras in 2014.

Brad Stringer, the brother of Western Bulldogs youngster Jake, has landed from Eaglehawk and is touted as a midfielder who can play on the ball or wide, half-forward or half-back.

Former Maryborough Rovers player Corey Taylor is the other exciting addition.

Taylor will fill a key post forward or back after an injury-troubled 2013 campaign.

Hepburn president Jason Dooley said the club had gone “steady” on recruiting, believing it had great talent within its ranks.

“It is important for me as the new president and also to the new committee and coaching department to have as much local presence in our side as we can and that has heavily influenced who we have targeted,” he said.

“Sometimes that can work and sometimes not, but I believe in this case we have put a good list together and certainly have had a little bit of luck doing so with the guys returning and the new boys in town.

“We should be thereabouts again.”