Bundoora has started off the year with a bang announcing the signing of former Richmond and Western Bulldogs footballer Sam Lloyd.
Having made the surprise decision to retire from the AFL in December, Lloyd will run around in the Northern Football League division 1 competition this year.
Bulls coach Michael Ryan said the signing of Lloyd had brought plenty of excitement to the club.
Lloyd played 89 AFL games, kicking 114 goals.
“Getting him to the club has been good,” he said. “He’s a ripping bloke and plenty of football experience and is still at a relatively young age.”
Ryan, who is friends with Lloyd, said a mutual friend had suggested he get in touch with Lloyd as he was set to move on from an AFL career and open to playing local football.
The conversation went from there and with Lloyd signing with the Bulls and the club helping Lloyd secure employment in the construction industry, which he is passionate about.
Lloyd is the latest in a long number of former AFL players who have played with the Bulls in recent years.
Gary Moorcroft, Ricky Dyson, Brayden Shaw and Cameron Cloke have all tasted success at the Bulls.
Ryan said Lloyd would likely play a mixture of midfield and forward this year.
“He’s keen to go through the midfield and play up forward as well,” he said.
“He’s pretty adaptable and we will not anchor him in one spot. He might rest up forward and hopefully kick a couple of goals.”
The Bulls have also added VFL-listed players Tylar Young and Nathan Howard.
Young, a 21-year-old centre-half forward, is signed with Frankston, while 19-year-old Howard is on Coburg’s list.
Ryan said they had managed to keep most of their 2020 playing group together and they were super keen to get back out and play football.
They though have lost one of the biggest names in the competition, three-time Frank Rosbrook medal winner Matthew Dennis, who is playing in Tasmania this year.
Ryan said Joel Grace and Hamish Shepherd would share the ruck load in Dennis’ absence.
“Joel is now in his fourth year with us,” he said.
“He is 21-years-old and it’s the right time to take over the ruck. It’s very exciting for Joel, as he has always sat behind Matty in the ruck role.
“Hamish was drafted by Fremantle as a ruckman.”
The Bulls return to training on January 28 and will train three times a week until practice matches start.