Retired Roosters champion ruckman back with Redan in BFL

Retired North Ballarat Roosters champion ruckman Orren Stephenson will play out the season with Redan in the Ballarat Football League.

Lions president Damian Linton confirmed on Thursday night that the AFL-experienced Stephenson was returning to Redan.

It’s great to have him back.”

Stephenson launched his football career with Redan, playing in premiership teams in 2002 and 2003.

He went on to play in three VFL premierships with the Roosters and one with Geelong; spend three years in the AFL with Geelong (2012-13) and Richmond (2014); and represent the VFL twice.

Stephenson, 34, announced his retirement from the VFL late last week without playing a game this season owing to injury.

Now injury free and with a strong pre-season behind him, he said at the time that he intended to play on and had had preliminary discussions with Linton – giving Redan the frontrunning for his services.

Linton said although Stephenson had not played with Redan since 2004, he had always retained close ties with the Lions.

“It’s been terrific over the years to watch his progress after his early development with us.

“He’s regularly been around the club.”

Linton said having Stephenson playing would be a great boost for the whole team as well as the development of young ruckmen Ben Smyth and Nick Hausler, who was Roosters-listed.

Linton said Stephenson was keen to start playing as soon as possible.

He said Redan was hopeful of having Stephenson line up for the first time against Ballarat at the City Oval on Saturday, but this was dependent on the required paperwork being completed.

The arrival of Stephenson gives what has been a promising start by Redan even greater momentum.

Redan is fourth with a two wins and a last-gasp loss after three full rounds.

Meanwhile, former North Ballarat Rebel Lochie Huppatz makes his senior debut for Sebastopol against Darley at Marty Busch Reserve on Saturday.

From Portland, Huppatz is on the North Ballarat Roosters’ VFL list, but has had the start of his season delayed by a finger injury.