Former Melton coach Brad Murphy has plundered Sunbury’s top-end players stocks as part of a massive recruiting campaign by Western Region Football League club St Albans.
Now at the helm of St Albans, Murphy has plucked ruckman David Kovacevic, Adam Short, Tom Donoghue and Ben Said from the Lions.
Kovacevic has long been highly regarded in the Ballarat league and regular member of the BFL team of the year, while Short represented the BFL as a key defender this year.
A midfielder, Donoghue has been one of Sunbury’s emerging youngsters after graduating through Calder Cannons ranks in the TAC Cup.
Said arrived at Sunbury this year and kicked 30 goals in the opening nine rounds before injury took a toll.
Sunbury coach Ben Jordan said it was disappointing to see the quartet leaving, but it was another example how difficult it was for BFL clubs to compete with WRFL and Essendon District league clubs salary caps of more than $200,000.
He said the focus was now on retaining other experienced players – something he was confident the Lions could do – and then adding to the list.
The Lions have already announced the re-signing of Timmy Hill and Mitch Trimboli, who arrived at the club this year.
Jordan said although losing a player of the quality and importance of Kovacevic was a massive negative, Sunbury could not afford to and would not dwell on it.
This is the second year in a row Sunbury has been hit by multiple losses.
They join Josh Burgess (Rupertswood), Jack Landt (Essendon Doutta Stars), Jess McInerney (Sunshine), Ben McInerney (Sunshine), Joe Redfern (Coolamon), Chris Tsadarkis (Sunbury Kangaroos), Matthew Medcraft (Port Douglas, NQAFL) and Jack Sullivan who left at the end of last year.
MEANWHILE, Melton hopes to announce a new coach within a week.
Bloods president Greg Davis said the club had been encouraged by the quality of candidates to fill the vacancy left by Brady Murphy, who left after four years in the role.
David also said Melton had importantly re-signed most players.
Pacy utility Nathan Wallace has moved to St Albans with Murphy.