Retired Essendon defender Tayte Pears is Melton South’s latest big name recruit for the upcoming Ballarat Football League season.
He joins former Essendon teammate Nick Kommer at the Panthers.
Pears walked away from the AFL at the end of last year to pursue a career with the Metropolitan Fire Brigade after serving a 12-month ban for his involvement in the 2012 supplements saga.
He is the only one of 12 suspended players which were still on the Essendon list not returning to the AFL this year.
Pears continues a recruiting campaign which keeps giving for Melton South joint coaches Sean Triplett and Brendan Fevola.
Triplett said being a good friend of Kommer and a desire to play country football had been instrumental in drawing Pears to Melton South. Pears and Kommer are both originally from Western Australia.
Essendon recruited the 26-year-old from East Perth with pick 23 in the 2007 national draft as a forward, but spent most of his AFL career as a defender.
Triplett said Pears would have the versatility and size to play anywhere for the Panthers.
“He’s extremely fit. He’s a personal trainer.”
He said the ex-Bomber was at the point in his life where he wanted to enjoy his football and he had been keen to play in the country.
Triplett said while Pears would carry six points, Melton South was still well within its cap of 48.
He said it needed to be remembered recruits such as Mitch Banner, Ben Peters and Matt Notman as former Melton South juniors carried just one point.
Melton South, which did not win a game last season, and Sebastopol have the highest points cap in the BFL – each with 48.
All other clubs are on 44 points.