While Santa’s naughty and nice list remains top secret for another week or more, the Queanbeyan Tigers are confident that they’ve landed in the “good” column this year after receiving an early Christmas delivery of a number of new recruits for the 2017 season.
Joining, or in some cases re-joining, the Tigers in 2017 are:
A versatile player who can play anywhere in the back half, on-ball or on a wing, Jeremy is the latest key signing, returning to the Tigers after a two year absence.
A NEAFL Eastern Conference Premiership player with the Tigers in 2012, Jeremy decided to continue playing at NEAFL level with Eastlake in 2015 when the Tigers returned to the AFL Canberra competition. He was a valuable player for Eastlake that year and was enticed to play a handful of games with Eastlake’s First Grade team in the AFL Canberra competition in 2016 while he juggled work commitments and considered whether or not to pursue football at the NEAFL level.
Jeremy is the son of Tigers First Grade premiership player and former Reserve Grade and successful U18s coach, Damian. He has been around the club since he was a small child, so the return to black and yellow in 2017 is somewhat of a home coming.
Jeremy made his First Grade debut for the Tigers in 2007 and is within striking distance of admission to the prestigious 100 Club. All going well he should pass the 100 club-game milestone (a combination of first and second grade games) in 2017 and be set for full admission to the 100 Club when he pays his 1ooth First Grade game in 2018.
Left to right – Mitch Haley, Tim Shea, coach Dave Corcoran, Jordan Hedington and Jeremy Bridger pictured all in Tigers colours at a recent training session.
Mitch played in the Tigers 2014 premiership when our Reserve Grade competed in the AFL Canberra First Division competition (Note – the Tigers First Grade competed in the NEAFL competition in that year). But he found juggling study, work and football in 2015 was difficult and decided to have a year away from football in 2016 to focus on work.
But now that he has established himself with local fitout and refurbishment specialist SHAPE, he will return to the Tigers in 2017.
Originally from Dubbo Mitch is a big-bodied player with great hands who can play in key positions. Although only young himself at 22 years old he will add some leadership and size to the group in 2017.
Tim returns to the Tigers after a season with Temora Kangaroos.
A player with enormous potential, Tim also played in the Tigers 2014 premiership. The following year he looked set for a breakout year when presented with an opportunity to cement a spot in First Grade, but unfortunately he only managed to play two games – badly injuring a hamstring in both.
As a measure of the standing he was held in, Tim was under consideration for a spot in the 2015 First Grade grand final team that ultimately won the premiership, but with limited game time in Reserve Grade at the end of the season, the risk of injury was too great and he was overlooked for selection.
Tim will add a great deal of versatility to the squad and is a welcome returning player for 2017.
Acquiring the services of Jordan Hedington is a major coup for the Tigers after he was signed from arch rival Ainslie.
Jordan is however a former Tigers junior who played at St Edmunds in his high school years and is one of the rare few that chose a different pathway while at school and moved on to Ainslie rather than coming back to the Tigers.
Jordan has remained a local, living in Queanbeyan. In fact he lives only a couple of hundred meters from Allinsure Park. He plays cricket for Queanbeyan where many of his teammates also play with the Tigers and have been encouraging him to “come home” for a couple of seasons now.
So far Jordan has been one of our best on the training track during pre-Xmas training. He is looking forward to more opportunities at First Grade level and will be a valuable acquisition after tearing us apart in one game last year when playing for Ainslie. We hope he can replicate that form for us rather than against us.
Jeremy is a graduate of Marist. He has been impressed by the Tigers and has jumped at the opportunity to join us now that he has finished school.
He’s currently trialing for a Rookie list spot with the Canberra Demons where his athleticism is showing out.
At 6’4, or 194cm, he’s a ruckman who also plays key forward. He also has outstanding pace, testing extremely well with the Demons in the 20m sprint. He also has an impressive standing vertical leap. In fact, his leap of 66cm during testing with the Demons would have had him just one centimeter outside the top ten at this year’s national draft combine.
With last year’s number one ruckman Cam Milne moving on to the Canberra Demons, we are very pleased to have Jeremy onboard to bolster our list of tall players.
Hugh McKenzie, and his 800m record set only a few weeks ago in November 2016.
Hugh is another graduate of the Marist program. He is an outside player who uses his elite running to advantage. And when we say “elite” running, we aren’t exaggerating or wanting to give added confidence to a new player through a complimentary article. Hugh truly is an elite runner.
He currently holds the ACT boys 18-19 years 800m record with a very impressive time of 1:57.77. Senior player Josh Bryce is one of our most competitive trainers who doesn’t like to have anyone get past him in the fitness and running activities, but we dare say Hugh might have just about everyone at our club covered when the 400s and 800s roll around in pre-season.
We can’t wait to see Hugh in action.
In addition to these key recruits, and the nice Christmas gift that they present to new senior coach Dave Corcoran and Senior Assistant Paul Campbell, there may be more good news ahead with a number of other potential recruits considering joining the Tigers in 2017 depending on university placement, employment opportunities and how they go with trials at the Canberra Demons. This will add to the Club’s depth in the senior grades.
Hopefully we’ll have more good news to announce during pre-season.