EAST Wagga-Kooringal’s latest signing Dean Jones says the opportunity to play under new coach Gavin McMahon was too good to pass up.
The 22-year-old midfielder and his two best mates, Blake Aichinger and Scott Burge, have signed with Hawks from Riverina Football League club Mangoplah for next season.
A Goannas junior, Jones has never experienced football life outside the club but the opportunity to switch alliegences with Aichinger and Burge, also 22, came at the right time to shake things up.
Speaking yesterday, Jones said he’s excited by the unknown challenge of a Farrer League club.
“It’ll definitely be a good challenge, the fact is that Mango has always been a young, up-and-coming side and East Wagga has a good core group of players around the 25 and 26 age bracket,” Jones said.
“It’ll be a bit different, we were virtually some of the oldest players at Mango and we’ll go to being some of the youngest.
“It’s a bit of a change as well; they say change is as good as a holiday.”
Wooed to the Hawks by McMahon, the trio is expected to bring talent and maturity to the club in a deliberate bid to revamp its reputation.
McMahon said the club wanted to build a specific culture with the right players, and the latest signings fit the bill.
Going into bat for the youngsters, McMahon said not only are the trio handy recruits, but they have the right attitude and personality to benefit the club.
But it wasn’t just the attraction of a challenge that lured Jones away from Goannas, who insists playing alongside his cousin Alex Jones was key to his decision.
Jones said the chance to play with his best mates and family under one banner was ideal.
“We’re virtually all best mates, it makes it a bit easier,” he said.
“The opportunity to play under Gav came up and that was a big factor, and I’ve got a cousin who plays for them as well, so it’ll be good to play with family.
“Playing under Gavin will be exciting, he’s a very professional coach.”
Both Jones and Burge are running midfielders, while Aichinger is a tall key position player.
All three played in the Goannas reserve grade grand final loss to Collingullie-Ashmont Kapooka in September.