MINYIP-MURTOA have landed the signature of Callum Hobbs for the upcoming Wimmera Football League season.
The club had been in talks with the young Harrow-Balmoral midfielder for the best part of a month before it announce the signing on Sunday.
Hobbs said the extra challenge of playing consistent football for a Wimmera league club was what enticed him to make the move.
“I had a chat to a mate during the year who’d made the move from Horsham district to the Wimmera league and he’d loved it,” he said. “That planted the seed in about July and I’d been thinking about it most of the season.”
He was invited to train with the Burras by some mates but said actually making the decision to leave his home club was difficult.
It was sort of like breaking up with a girlfriend that I knew one day I’d probably marry.Callum Hobbs
“It was sort of like breaking up with a girlfriend that I knew one day I’d probably marry,” he said.
“It was a weird feeling but everyone has been really supportive.
“I’ll miss the club a fair bit because it’s home but at the same time I’m really excited for what’s ahead because I think Minyip-Murtoa is probably the club that is the most similar in the Wimmera league.”
Coach Damian Cameron said Hobbs will add to the club’s midfield depth as well as its goal-scoring power when he drifts forward.
“Everyone knows we’ve got a lot of good footballers in our forward line but kicking big scores has not been our strength,” he said.
“To have someone else who can be a dominant midfielder plus go forward to kick some goals makes him a really good get.”
Hobbs joins Tatyoon best and fairest Mitchell Cronin and Horsham Saints midfielder Ollie Timms as the club’s highest profile recruits to this point of the off-season.
A number of former players are also set to the return to the senior squad.
Cameron said the addition of Hobbs excited him because of his qualities as a person as well as a player.
“He’s at that age where he is going to play a lot of good consistent footy,” he said.
“I’ve only seen very little of him but what from you hear and what you see he is a real leader on the field and an absolute cracking bloke – you’d never turn one of them back.”
The Burras have consistently talked about needing to bring the right sort of players into the club in order to to build towards a potential premiership.
Cameron said the club had once again focused on recruiting certain types of players with a particular character.
“That’s what we’ve picked up so far so we’re pretty happy,” he said.
“We have a great bunch of people around the club and if you get a couple of guys that are great footballers but different characters they can soon send a virus through the squad and you end up going backwards.
“Character has been a massive focus for us.”
Hobbs said he was looking forward to playing under the leadership of Cameron.
“You hear a lot about the way different coaches go about and the mates that I’ve got playing at Minyip-Murtoa love playing under him because,” he said.
“He leads by example by going out there and doing it.”
The club is still working towards adding further recruits.
At this stage only Cooper Bateson, Ollie Young and Kade Petering look likely to not be returning to play for the Burras in 2018.
“It’s unlikely that Kade will get back from his knee reconstruction,” Cameron said.
“He’ll still be around the club most weeks despite going to university in Geelong.
“He’s a great club person and there aren’t too many people who will travel three hours to just watch a game of footy in order to stay involved.”