Fresh from luring a rugby union player to the Blues for 2017, the club has now turned its attention to AFL, enticing Marrar Bombers midfielder Greg O’Connor to the club.
With the Blues sadly lacking in the forwards in 2016, O’Connor’s impressive build will be, quite literally, a massive boost for the club heading into the 2017 Group 9 season, with his athleticism sure to bolster the club.
O’Connor played 11 games for the Bombers in the Farrer Football League in 2016 after spending a number of seasons with North Wagga Saints and will return to rugby league after an extended absence from the thirteen man code.
Blues president Tom Arragon has been busy chasing recruits ahead of the 2017 season and was instrumental in luring O’Connor to the club where he will link up with another Wagga local.
“I’m originally an Aussie rules player and I was thinking of switching codes and heard that Tom Arragon was becoming Tumut President so we had a chat and what he told me sounded pretty good,” O’Connor said.
“I’m also pretty good mates with James Curgenven, so it will be good to play alongside him.”
With his impressive build, O’Connor brings much-needed size to a Blues forward pack that was dominated week in, week out in 2016 and his acquisition will boost the club immensely, fresh off the signing of Wagga City’s James Curgenven who brings plenty of experience and a great left boot.
O’Connor believes he would be best suited to the forwards, and when you stand at over 190cm and tip the scales at over 100kg, who would argue.
“I’m hoping to play a lock-style of role. I think coming from the AFL, it’s going to help me a fair bit, playing in the mid-field I have good fitness, and I’m about 103kg and 194cm so I think a lot of those attributes will benefit me playing rugby league as well,” he said.
He has had a brief flirtation with rugby league in his younger days, but has spent the past few years playing AFL in Wagga and running his own personal training business, which restricted his playting time with the bombers in 2016.
“I played rugby league for both Brothers and Kangaroos, in the under 18s.
“I haven’t played for about 6 or 8 years. I’m a personal trainer so I opened up my own business and I gave away footy for a bit and played for Marrar Bombers, and previously for North Wagga Saints for 3 or 4 years.”
It’s still January and with the Blues opening match against the Tumbarumba Greens still some weeks away, it’s too early to make any bold predictions abbout 2017, but there is a general feeling of quiet confidence lurking around following the return of 2008 premiership mentor Jarred Teka.
Like many around the club, O’Connor is cautiously optimistic about the Blues’ chances in 2017, but at remains hopeful.
“I think with the coach we have coming on board we’ve got a really good chance, and I’m confident we can go well.”