Shepparton likes the look of its new key position player.
Star forward James Wong’s future with the club may be up in the air, but the Bears have signed versatile young big man Sam Dunstan.
Standing at almost 200cm, Dunstan has made his mark as a centre-half-forward who has the ability to go back and into the ruck.
The club believes Dunstan is the ideal replacement for Stuart Hobijn-Allen, who has moved to Essendon District Football League club West Coburg as he studies in Melbourne this year.
‘‘We’ve been after Sam for quite a while and we’re excited to have him on board,’’ a Bears spokesman said.
‘‘He can play at both ends of the ground and he really wants to experience GVFL footy.
‘‘He came up last night (Wednesday), trained with us and signed on then and there.’’
Dunstan played with Donald in the North Central Football League last year, but has a background in the TAC Cup with Bendigo Pioneers and North Ballarat.
He also played alongside Shepparton young gun Matt Shannon in the Victoria Country under-19 game against Victoria Amateur Football Association.
Dunstan’s previous connections with Bears players Ted Lindon and Julius Battista helped get him over the line.
He will be Melbourne-based as he completes a university degree.
Meanwhile, veteran midfielder Dave Gallagher won’t be at the Bears for a second season.
With the club bringing in experienced midfielders Ben Davies and David Stretton, there simply wasn’t room for a third ex-VFL star.
‘‘It was basically a list management thing. We’ve got two quality midfielders in Davies and Stretton and we have to be mindful of not having too many of the same type of player,’’ the spokesman said.
‘‘We want to get that mix of youth and experience right and we’re confident we’ve done that.’’
Gallagher played all 20 games for Shepparton last year, including the club’s two finals against Seymour and Rochester, featuring in the best 10 times.
Star young tall Harry Boyd could still make some appearances for the Bears this year after keeping Shepparton as his home club.
The former Murray Bushranger is trying his luck with Werribee, but will play with the Bears when his VFL commitments allow him to.
The Bears will have an intra-club match before practice games against Barooga and Benalla ahead of the Goulburn Valley Football League season opener against Shepparton United at Deakin Reserve on April 14.