Soumilas to join Pies

NARRE WARREN looks to have snared super-talented Gippsland League midfielder Andy Soumilas in a major coup for the reigning 2010 premier. The three-time league best and fairest winner joined the Magpies’ first two training sessions at Fox Road last week and word around the traps suggests the deal is as good as done. Soumilas played this season under his older brother Ben who coaches DROUIN after a long and successful career at GARFIELD in the old West Gippsland League, prior to the Stars’ recent transfer back to district league football with the EDFL. Narre Warren is certainly not the first Casey Cardinia League club to tempt the GFL ball magnet with DEVON MEADOWS, TOORADIN and HAMPTON PARK all showing more than a passing interest in him over the years. One of our GFL sources suggested that the change was a result of the younger Soumilas not being particularly content in the Hawks’ nest this year.

THE 2011 Gippsland League will be a 10-team competition after BAIRNSDALE Football Netball Club was officially accepted into the league at its annual general meeting at Morwell on Monday night. Seven of the nine clubs voted to accept BAIRNSDALE at a meeting convened by the league last week. BAIRNSDALE, which played in the Gippsland-Latrobe Valley League until 1998, was this year’s premier in the East Gippsland Football League and has been a power in the EGL over the past decade, winning eight flags over the past 11 seasons. Its first game, on 9 April, and the opening round next year will be against last season’s wooden spooners WARRAGUL before its first home game against MOE in round two. Similar to last year, the 2011 Gippsland league will comprise 18 rounds and with only one break, planned between rounds five and six on 21 May for the Worksafe Championships. Meanwhile, a board of management was instituted to oversee the running of the league, replacing the executive and delegate system that had been in place.

MOST footy fans would have heard of the tragic death of gentle giant Donny Epa after he was struck by a train while going for a pre-season run near his home at Seaford a few weeks ago. Epa made his name in the MPNFL for SEAFORD and was a regular MPNFL interleague representative until he transferred to MEENIYAN DUMBALK UNITED in the Alberton League this year. He had decided to return and play closer to home in 2011 and had reportedly agreed to join PEARCEDALE just before the accident. Rest in peace, big fella.

BERWICK and BEACONSFIELD officials are barely on speaking terms after the Wickers snuck under the Eagles guard and signed two highly prized recruits from MULGRAVE. Apparently the Eagles had spoken to both lads and were confident of adding them to what looks likely to be a vastly different playing list in 2011, when their bitter rival swooped and “outbid them”, according to one disgruntled lad from the Perc Allison Oval. Among 2010 grand final players who will not pull on a Beaconsfield strip next season are Kane Airdrie, Craig Jackson, Lachlan Oakley and spearhead Ryan Donaldson.

WHILE 2009 EDFL premier NILMA DARNUM is opening the chequebook again in 2011, the word is that fellow big-spenders CORA LYNN will rein in its outlays in the new season and ditch interstate fly-in players after the experiment failed to win them a flag in 2010. The Cobras now have a good base of local talent and have already spoken to several former players with a view to luring them back to play under new mentor Brendan Kimber.

ELLINBANK has signed burly WARRAGUL utility Bryce Monahan as an assistant coach to support second-season coach Ross Glover. Another former teammate of both Monahan and Glover at the Gulls, agile ruckman Brad Peters, who played EDFL football with BULN BULN a few seasons ago, will also put on an Eagles jumper in 2011. On the down side, the Bankers have lost hard-at-it defender Jeremy Reid, who is expected to return to a Gippsland club closer to his home, most likely to one his former clubs, SALE or ROSEDALE.

LAST season’s cellar dwellers, LONGWARRY, is ecstatic to have regained the services of triple best and fairest Tye Holland. He has been appointed assistant coach under Grant McDonald. The hard-running Holland returns to the Crows after a one-year stint with ST ALBANS in the Geelong Football league.
AFTER handing in his resignation, citing new work commitments, a month ago, word has it that former AFL Kangaroo Troy Makepeace has reconsidered and will now coach MOE next season. Furthermore, the Lions have bolstered their coaching department with the appointment of former BRISBANE Bear Lachlan Sim as the club’s director of coaching. MOE is looking forward to play its first game at home since 2009, in round four, when it hosts the reigning premiers, MAFFRA in a night game. The Lions’ ground, the Ted Summerton Reserve, has undergone a multi-million-dollar facelift this year and visitors to Moe next season will see a new ground surface, electronic scoreboard, club rooms and bitumen parking facilities, to name just a few of the changes.

LAST week MAFFRA re-appointed dual premiership coach Graham Robbins for his third season in charge. In terrific news for the Eagles, Daniel Stubbe is making a steady recovery from a horrific hand and arm injury, sustained while skylarking on preliminary final weekend that saw him miss the grand final. Many thought the injury might end his football career, but it is healing well and the star utility hopes to resume in the early rounds of next season. On the flip side, another excitement machine who also missed the grand final, Adrian Burgiel, had a knee reconstruction last week and will miss the entire year. The Eagles will be on the look-out to replace ruck rovers Craig Robbins, who is going overseas, and former VFL NORTHERN BULLANT David Adams. Both have told the club they will not be available next year.

CATANI will host a “meet the coaches” day from 11.30am on Sunday 5 December, to welcome new senior coach Graeme Jose and recently appointed assistant Justin Evans. The coaches will outline their plans for the Blues’ 2011 campaign, with all current and prospective players – as well as supporters – welcome for the informal barbecue lunch.