Werribee has added a dose of big-name local talent to its 2019 list with the signing of former North Melbourne AFL-listed utility Oscar Junker.
The 20-year-old Wyndham local, who played his junior football a stone’s throw from Avalon Airport Oval with Western Region Football League side Werribee Districts, has joined his hometown VFL side after two seasons on the Kangaroos’ rookie list, which included one year of the former Werribee-North Melbourne alignment.
Junker said his strong connection to the Werribee area made the choice to sign on an obvious one.
“I’m super excited to be part of the club,” Junker said.
“I know a fair few of the boys through my local club and the local area. I grew up in this area, so it’s just a good fit.”
Junker was taken by North Melbourne at pick 28 in the 2016 rookie draft after an impressive season as co-captain of the Western Jets TAC Cup program but was unable to gain AFL selection throughout a frustrating two years at the club.
He broke his leg during a practice match in February 2017, effectively ending his maiden AFL season before it began, though he did manage to return to the field for Werribee’s Development League side’s final-round match against the Casey Demons, his sole appearance in the “big W” to date.
Season 2018 proved more successful, Junker playing 17 of a possible 18 games and kicking 13 goals for North’s inaugural VFL side.
Despite the disappointing end to his time in the AFL, Junker said he believed he still had something to offer at the highest level.
“Getting delisted from North Melbourne was obviously disappointing, but I’ve dusted myself off, and I really think Werribee is a great environment for me to come back into to develop my game and hopefully get drafted again,” he said.
With his combination of strong hands overhead and ability to weave his 193cm frame through heavy traffic, Junker has the flexibility to play in a variety of roles, which Werribee football operations manager Stuart Balloch said made him an exciting prospect for the club.
“He’s a terrific mark who can play high up the ground or flip out to a wing, so he’s got a bit of versatility,” Balloch said.
“He was unfortunately cut down in his first year on North Melbourne’s list but was able to play some regular VFL football last year, so we see real scope for improvement in Oscar, and it’s really nice for us that he’s from Werribee and resides in Werribee.”
WERRIBEE 2019 SIGNINGS