THE Great Western Lions have announced a significant coup in their effort to regain the Mininera and District Football League premiership, signing a former AFL player for the upcoming season.
The Lions finished third on the Mininera and District Football League ladder in season 2021, with nine wins from 11 matches.
Senior coach Matt Delzotto was elated that former club captain Nigel Sibson convinced former Geelong and Western Bulldogs player Nathan Djerrkura to sign with the club for 2022.
"During the off-season, Nigel (Sibson) spoke about his connection to Nathan's family and that they had a really good relationship, '' he said.
"Essentially, he gave Nathan (Djerrkura) a call to see if he was interested, and we tried to facilitate it from there.
"It is great to have those connections, it's really beneficial for the footy club."
Delzotto said the club was "super impressed" with Djerrkura from their meetings.
"Nathan is pretty busy with work and other commitments so it was a process to get it sorted and make sure he was comfortable with where the club was at," he said.
"He just wanted to get a bit of an idea of what the footy club was like and the environment he would be coming into; he was giving of his time and conscious of the commitment the footy club was making to him as well.
"He was really excited by the prospect of coming down to country Victoria to play with us."
Delzotto said he expected Djerrkura would have a massive positive impact on the playing group.
"Everyone walks a bit taller on the field when you have an ex AFL player running out next to you," he said.
"The information he will be able to pass on to our younger guys and little tips will be huge for us."
The club was also hopeful the signing would improve crowd numbers for the upcoming season.
"Overall it is incredibly exciting to have someone come to us who has played at the highest level and been on two different AFL lists and played a lot of VFL footy come on board," he said.
"He is a huge name, and the standing that Nathan has in his community up in Darwin is and what he has been able to achieve speaks volumes of the sort of guy he is.
"Coming back from COVID-19, he should help with crows numbers too. The flow-on effect of his signing just keeps going.
"It is extremely exciting for our footy club and the whole league that we were able to attract someone with his ability to have a kick of footy in the Mininera league.
"When Nathan (Djerrkura) comes down to play it will be a spectacle to behold."
Djerrkura's availability for the upcoming season will be decided once the Mininera and District fixture is released.
"He definitely won't be here every week, it is a wait and see at the moment," Delzotto said.
"He has definitely committed to at least a portion of the season with us."
The Lions return to the track on Thursday, January 27, in preparations for their second flag in three seasons.
"We have a good group and everyone is ready to rock and roll," Delzotto said.
"Everyone has been completing their running over the summer. We have had a positive response there.
"From all reports everyone is doing good and we head into the pre-season with a clean bill of health."
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