Werribee has secured talented youngsters Luke Hitch and Joshua Mould as its first local recruits ahead of the 2018 season, in the process continuing a dual family connection.
The Western Jets TAC Cup graduates, both 18, are both poised to become second-generation Werribee players after signing on to join the club for its first season as a standalone VFL outfit in 19 years.
Hitch’s father, Greg, spent the 1988 and 1989 seasons at Avalon Airport Oval, having previously played with Footscray’s reserves side, while Mould’s father, Shaun, played with Werribee’s under 19 and reserves teams from 1988 to 1990.
Hitch, who co-captained the Jets this year and won their Most Courageous award for his hard-nosed work as a defender and inside midfielder, said he was looking forward to building on his family links to the club and testing himself in the VFL environment.
“Dad finished his footy career off in the ’80s here, and he’s known a couple of blokes around here and is looking forward to me being a part of the club, so I hope I can live up to his name a bit,” the former Keilor junior said.
“My time at the Jets was two seasons of me trying to play my best footy, and now I’m lucky enough to be part of the VFL environment. Werribee has been awesome to me.
“Obviously, it’s a challenge for me, and I’m looking forward to it. Whatever the highest challenge is, that’s what I’m going to go for, and I’m going to keep striving to do the best I can.”
Like Hitch, Mould has shown an aptitude for playing both in defence and through the midfield, albeit in more of a run-and-carry type role.
Having endured a tough couple of years that saw him suffer a broken foot and subsequent broken toe, the Wyndhamvale product bounced back to play every TAC Cup game in 2017 and finish sixth in his side’s best and fairest.
Now with a clean bill of health to his name, Mould said he was looking forward to getting his first full pre-season under his belt as a member of his local VFL team.
“[My body] is really good now,” he said.
“I haven’t had any worries in the last six months, so I’m really happy to have it all together and absolutely glad to be down here [at Werribee]. It’s a great opportunity for me.
“I’m a local boy from Wyndhamvale, so being so local [was a big part of the appeal]. It makes things easy for me and my family, and I’ve got a great support network down here.”
With 2016 Jets graduate Nick Buykx having proved one of Werribee’s big recruiting success stories of last season, Werribee football operations manager Stuart Balloch said it was pleasing for the two organisations to be able to continue building on their strong relationship.
“We’re pretty excited to have two young Western Jets boys come into our program, and it’s a bit of a fairytale for both of these boys, who are following in their fathers’ footsteps,” said Balloch.
“Joshua had a few injuries but played the full year last year and was a flexible player, and we feel he is going to develop well within our program.
“Luke was co-captain last year, is quite durable, and is a small defender who can also go through the midfield.
“We welcome both of these guys, and we hope to continue our positive relationship with the Western Jets as a pathway for the talented player program.”
Senior coach John Lamont praised both players for their strong start to the pre-season.
“Luke and Josh have both started well on the training track,” said Lamont.
“It’s a huge step up from the TAC Cup, of course, but they’ve started positively and are going about it the right way, and it’s really pleasing to get a couple of local boys.
“Josh, in particular, is a City of Wyndham local, and we will now have these fantastic facilities for football out of Avalon Airport Oval, which the council has contributed to, so for a local resident to benefit from that is terrific.”
Werribee players officially announced for 2018
Michael Sodomaco (C)