Thomastown secures two VFL players

Michael Tang. Picture Thomastown Football Facebook page

Tara Murray

Thomastown’s ambition of moving into the Northern Football League top division has received a boost with the signing of two VFL players.

The Bears announced on Wednesday the signings of Tyrone Leonardis, who spent two years on Sydney’s AFL list and Michael Tang.

Both were on North Melbourne’s VFL list for the 2020 season, which was cancelled due to COVID-19.

Bears coach Mario Bandera said they were pretty excited to have got both players on board for the 2021 division 2 season. He said getting them would help both in the short and long term.

“We’ve known for a little while and have kept it under wraps,” he said.

“It’s good to get it out thee and we revealed yesterday to the playing group.

“It’s really good for us in terms of the performance side of things for next season and our long term goal is to establish ourselves in division one. We think it’s achievable.

Bandera said both players have had connections at the club and were keen to come across and play together.

He said both players at this stage would play full time with the club, deciding not to play VFL.

“Both at different stages with what they are trying to balance out,” he said.

“Micheal, since coming out of the Cannons went straight to Coburg and then Port Melbourne and then headed down to Tassie and played in the state league and then come back to North Melbourne VFL.

“At the stage with VFL that has well and truly ticked that box. He’s looking for something different on what he wanted to get out of his footy.

“Ty and his partner are expecting a baby. With the evolution of the VFL involving travel he wanted to be about for his partner and child.

“It’s a moving part with him. We’re always aware there’s a chance he could still play VFL, we’ll see how it plays out.

“It’s a good situation for us. We’ve made it no secret even if they’re playing VFL we are still happy to bring them into the club now and back our club in down the track.”

The two signings follow that of ruckman Joel Carter, from Epping.

Bandera said when you add it to the 2020 recruits you didn’t get to play this year including Daniel Bramich, Tyla Burrow and Todd Hughes, they were sitting in a really good spot.

“We do have some younger players coming across as well,” he said.

“It’s exciting looking at the depth of our list. We knew 12 months ago we had to improve our depth and we’ve done that.”

Bandera said one of the pleasing things from a club perspective was having players approach them about joining the club.

Bandera, who is yet to coach a game at the Bears with the 2020 season cancelled, said they would like to start training as soon as they are allowed.