Gundagai looking at replacements for Dane O'Hehir

Gundagai fullback Dane O'Hehir has plans to move to London next year and would be a big loss for the Tigers.
Gundagai fullback Dane O'Hehir has plans to move to London next year and would be a big loss for the Tigers.

Gundagai are preparing to be without star fullback Dane O’Hehir.

O'Hehir is expected to move to London next year.

His absence would be a big blow as the Tigers look to go on better in 2018 after falling to Southcity in the Group Nine grand final.

All O’Hehir is waiting for is the visa process to be completed later in the year before fully committing.

Tigers captain-coach James Smart confirmed they are searching for replacements.

"We are out there looking," Smart said.

"I'm fairly confident he (O’Hehir) is set on heading over to London and you certainly can't hold a young man back from wanting to do something like that.

"I'm sure it will be a pretty good experience for him.

"I think he has all but made his decision there so at the moment we are just having a bit of a look around at possible options."

O’Hehir was named as the Group Nine Fullback of the Year at the Weissel Medal presentation day on Saturday.

He’s played in four grand finals, including the 2015 premiership win and provides a great link to the back line in attack.

Smart admitted it would be a big blow to lose him.

"To lose a player like Dane O'Hehir is pretty big and someone who is not easily replaced,” he said.

"We have to make sure we make the right decision on his replacement.

"If Dane was to leave the club we would love to have someone locked in quickly, but it doesn't always work like that.

"Clubs are trying to find players and players are looking to explore as many options as they possibly can.

"It can be drawn out processes at times, but we would love to have something locked in shortly."

Despite planning to need a new fullback in 2018, the Tigers are still pleased with how things are shaping at this stage.

O’Hehir is expected to the only loss from the team who went down to the Bulls 24-8 in the decider last month.

Gundagai should also have 2015 Weissel Medal winner James Luff and winger Phil Latu both back from knee injuries.

Latu missed the entire season while Luff was downed in May.

"We are in quite a healthy position in terms of we aren't going out there chasing a stack of players or anything like that," Smart said.

"There is really only one hole that needs to be filled (O'Hehir's).

"All the other players I'm confident they will be staying on with the possibility of getting a couple of guys back from injury, that missed large parts of last season as well.

"With that in mind we're certainly not rushing into anything yet.”