Werribee has added another layer of depth and flexibility to its list by signing versatile tall Kye Declase from the Northern Blues for season 2018.
Declase, 21, has made the move to Avalon Airport Oval after two seasons at Ikon Park to join Werribee for what will be its first season as a standalone VFL outfit in 19 years.
The 194cm utility said he had already been impressed by the culture of the club in his first few training sessions and was excited by the prospect of playing as part of a standalone side out of a redeveloped home ground.
“[The environment] is very welcoming,” Declase said.
“[The playing group and staff] have made me feel very involved. I’m starting to build a lot of friendships, and I can’t wait to keep building them.
“With the club going standalone, I think there will be a bit more of an opportunity and a bit more of a tight-knit group, and the new facility will be really good to have.”
A graduate of the Northern Knights TAC Cup program, Declase joined the Blues in 2016, playing 11 VFL games and kicking four goals in his two seasons with the club.
He was made to work for his senior opportunities despite outstanding form in the AFL Victoria Development League but ultimately became an important member of the VFL line-up late in the 2017 season, playing predominantly as a speedy, strong-marking intercept defender but also pushing up the ground at times.
He averaged 18 disposals and six marks across the final month of the 2017 season, his standout performance a haul of 20 disposals, eight marks, and a goal against his new side at Preston City Oval in round 18.
Werribee senior coach John Lamont said Declase had settled in well to his new environment and that his combination of height and pace and ability to play all around the ground made him a very handy addition to the playing list.
“Kye has made a really positive start with his training,” said Lamont.
“He is working hard and really concentrating on his game, and his kicking has been particularly impressive thus far.
“We are looking to play him more as a forward, but we think he can also play on the wing and across half back, as he has proven, and his versatility means he can develop as an ‘around the square’ player if the team needs that.
“Our recruiting manager, Ange Cristoforo, has been tracking Kye since his time in the Northern Knights, so we are excited to have him join our club in this new era.”
Werribee players officially announced for 2018
Michael Sodomaco (C)