Charles Sturt University (CSU) have continued a strong off-season recruitment drive with the addition of two talented young footballers.
The Bushpigs' push towards a return to Farrer League finals continues to gain momentum after securing the services of John Bowie and Lachie Holmes.
The pair began studies at CSU's Wagga campus last year but opted to travel home and play with their junior clubs. After training with the Bushpigs for much of last season, Bowie and Holmes will link up with the uni club this year.
Bowie has already amassed 37 senior games at Deniliquin Rams and was considered one of the brightest prospects in the Murray League, having also been involved with Bendigo Pioneers.
Holmes also brings senior experience, having amassed 27 first grade games since making his senior debut as a 15-year-old in 2018.
CSU coach Travis Cohalan is rapt to have the pair on board.
"They're both good kids. They study on campus here at CSU, they're mates with a lot of our football players and we tried pretty hard to convince them to play with us last year," Cohalan said.
"They both trained with us last year and we respected their decisions to go back to their home clubs and play. I thought it showed a lot of loyalty...it was a big commitment and I'm sure their clubs appreciated it. I think it speaks volumes about their loyalty and the type of blokes they are.
"They're both ripping fellas and both can certainly play footy and add a lot to our team in terms of options really with half-forward, half-back, midfield type roles."
Bowie is expected to fit in across half-back and through the midfield for CSU.
Holmes is returning from a broken leg he sustained halfway through last year but is likely to play half-forward and midfield.
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"Everything we hoped for at the end of last season, we've achieved," Cohalan said.
"We pretty much got everything that we wanted. We targeted players such as Laddy and Dusty and from an internal point of view, because we already knew about John and Lachie, we targeted them and really wanted them to have a year with the Bushpigs and their mates on campus.
"To be completely honest, they were probably the four targets that we had in say September last year and to have all four on board is really pleasing for the club."
The Bushpigs started last season strongly before fading slightly to finish sixth. Cohalan is certainly eyeing a return to finals for CSU.
"We finished sixth last year and we were probably in the hunt for finals for three quarters of the year, with a very brand new and young team," he said.
"We're obviously hoping to build off that and certainly push for a top five berth, for sure."
CSU have also been able to keep their losses to a minimum at this stage, with Gus Blackwood's move to Queensland the only departure.
The Bushpigs kicked off pre-season training this week and have trial games locked in against Henty (March 5), Turvey Park (March 19) and Mangoplah-Cookardinia United-Eastlakes (March 24).
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