Pies clear decks for Witts
Tall order: Collingwood's young ruck hope Jarrod Witts. Photo: Vince Caligiuri
COLLINGWOOD has opened a path for promising young ruckman Jarrod Witts after cutting two ruck rivals yesterday.
The Magpies delisted Cameron Wood and Jonathon Ceglar leaving them with just Darren Jolly from this year's list as a recognised ruck.
The Magpies recruited Quinten Lynch as a free agent to play as a tall forward and second ruck, replacing Chris Dawes whom they traded to Melbourne.
The club has high hopes of 20-year-old ruck Witts, the 210-centimetre prospect signed in 2008 as a New South Wales scholarship player.
Witts was close to making his debut this season but suffered minor soft tissue injuries at inopportune moments.
The club expects he will, as a minimum, play sufficient games next year to manage Jolly's workload and potentially play even more games than that. "We had Witts, Ceglar and Wood all trying to ruck in the VFL last year and none of them getting a go at it," director of football Geoff Walsh said.
"It might look good to have names on the whiteboard but there is not much point keeping blokes on your list not to play games. Wood played a handful of games and Ceglar didn't play this year.
''So Witts will get his opportunities next year to play."
Wood played six games this season without managing to hold a regular spot, unable to convince as a forward and relief ruck or displace Jolly as first ruck. Recruited from Brisbane he played 48 games for Collingwood after 16 with the Lions. Ceglar did not play a game.
After the experience this year of too many rucks effectively creating a block to one another's development, Walsh said the club would not seek to bring in another mature ruck as back-up in case of injury.
Collingwood also cut fringe defender Simon Buckley as part of finalising 13 players delisted or traded out of the club.
Buckley played 13 games this year for 26 in three years after moving across from Melbourne.
Small forwards, the quick and light Kirk Ugle and stocky Luke Rounds, were both delisted.
Rookies Paul Cribbin, Daniel Farmer, Shae McNamara, Trent Stubbs and Lachlan Smith were all cut in early September.
■North Melbourne announced it had delisted eight players, including small forwards Matt Campbell and Cruize Garlett.
Campbell played 82 games for the Kangaroos after his 2007 debut and the club unsuccessfully tried to trade him in this trade period.
The other players cut from North's primary list were Ben McKinley, Ben Warren and and Ben Speight, as well as rookies Malcolm Lynch, Brad Mangan and Gavin Urquhart.