Munro and Declase to fire up forward again

Werribee has secured more of its forward firepower for season 2019 by re-signing Matthew Munro and Kye Declase.

The pair join fellow sharp shooter Joel Bennett in recommitting to the club for new senior coach Mark Williams’ first year at the helm and for what will be their fifth and second seasons respectively in the black and gold.

All three players made key contributions to Werribee’s 2018 tally, kicking 16 goals each as their club’s most prolific scorers behind the now retired Andrew Hooper and new Gold Coast Suns recruit Josh Corbett.

The departures of the latter two mean Munro can now count himself as Werribee’s most experienced forward, having played 53 games and kicked 44 goals since landing at Avalon Airport Oval in 2015.

While his goalkicking efforts across his 17 games last year were vital at times – none more so than his four second-half goals to almost steal victory against Footscray at home in round seven – it was through his forward defensive pressure and status as the VFL’s number-two player for scoring assists that the 23-year-old proved most valuable.

Werribee football operations manager Stuart Balloch said he expected Munro to relish his status as one of the elder statesmen of the new forward setup.

“Matt has shown himself to be very handy in front of goal over the last couple of seasons, but his ability to help others find the goals was where he was really crucial for us last year,” Balloch said.

“He’s now got more than 50 VFL games under his belt and is among the more senior players in our group, so we’ll be looking for him to go to another level and continue to be really important for us in that small forward role.”

Declase will also be keen to step up his game in 2019 after a promising but at times frustrating maiden season at Avalon Airport Oval.

After 11 senior games in two seasons with the Northern Blues, the 22-year-old tall was kept to 12 games in his first year in the “big W” as he battled an ongoing back complaint through the second half of the year.

Nonetheless, his early-season performances – particularly a four-goal haul at home against Williamstown in round three to take the game away from the eventual preliminary finallists – showed just how dangerous he can be at his best.

Balloch said Declase was another player with big scope for development, with the former Blue having spent most of his time at Ikon Park in defence and on the wing.

“Kye is a beautiful kick for goal, and his combination of height and mobility means he also has the versatility to flip out onto the wing, where he has already played a bit before,” Balloch said.

“There’s no doubt his second half of the season wasn’t quite where he would have liked it to be, but he has shown he can be a real threat for us, so we’re really eager to see how he can progress as he continues to develop in that forward role.”

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