There will be a distinctly home-grown flavour to the Goulburn City Bulldogs' lineup in 2022, one which grew stronger on Sunday, December 12, when the club announced three new signees.
Jason Gray, Isaac Lanham, and Mitchell Turner are all former Bulldogs who, for a variety of reasons, departed after the 2019 season.
But they have returned to Goulburn ahead of 2022 as part of the club's push to bolster its ranks with local talent.
"The most pleasing thing for me is we've been lucky enough to get all those local boys, who have had a season off or been away for a bit, coming back," Bulldogs head coach, Tyson Greenwood said.
"Already being in this position coming into 2022, we're not even past Christmas yet and I've got a fair idea of who's coming back to the club is very promising. There's a lot of excitement from everyone I talk to, because with the local boys coming back, it adds a bit of excitement around town."
Lanham will slot in among the forwards, while Turner is traditionally a forward but can act as a utility and play wherever needed, and Gray is expected to adopt the role of hooker.
"[Lanham] was lucky enough to pick up a gig in Sydney with the Rabbitohs ... so he's got a lot of that rep-level football and the training mentality from being in the system. He'll be a big input into our forward pack," Greenwood said.
"Mitch Turner is a lock/number nine, so he'll be another forward but he can play anywhere. He's a utility, we can use him anywhere on the field and he won't let you down.
"Jason Gray's preferred position is a nine, but he can also play in the halves. I'll be looking to play him at nine, because he's a really good, crisp hooker who's quick on his feet and smart.
"We're definitely happy to pick up all three of those boys."
The three newest additions come shortly after the Bulldogs announced the return of Chris Hart to the club, along with the signing of former Woden Ram and Tumut Blue, Ron Leapai.
Goulburn has been extremely proactive about picking up as many players as possible in the off-season, which Greenwood said is partially due to his desire not to have the First Grade ranks thinned out by injuries and absences again.
"Our downfall in 2021 was [a lack of] depth," he said.
"We didn't have a huge pool of players to call on, so we set ourselves a goal to get everyone back playing footy and get some hype around the club."
In this regard, there are already early signs of success. 32 people turned out to the club's first pre-season training last Thursday, and Greenwood hopes for similar or even better numbers at its next session this Thursday, which will take place at the Goulburn Workers Arena from 6pm.
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