COACH: NATHAN LOVETT-MURRAY
MFL PREMIERSHIPS: 2014 2016
FINISH: SIXTH (11–8)
2016 BEST-AND-FAIREST: KANE ATKINSON
2016 LEADING GOAL-KICKER: JARROD ATKINSON (40)
GROUND: MERCURY DRIVE SPORTS COMPLEX
There would not be many life boats left on the S.S Rumbalara, with a large number of players from last year jumping ship.
In fact, nine of Rumba’s side from its elimination final loss to Barooga will not be pulling on the boots for the club this year.
Last year’s captain Levi Power is a massive loss, as is leading goal-kicker Jarrod Atkinson. On the flip side, the short list of players joining or returning to the club includes two gems the Rumba faithful will cling to during the year.
Former AFL veteran Nathan Lovett-Murray returns from his Essendon saga suspension to coach, while former Collingwood player Chris Egan comes back to his junior club and will assist Lovett-Murray as forward line coach.
Rumba is hopeful the significant losses to the playing ranks can be filled by role players and exciting juniors, with a team-first mentality to be drilled and instilled into the boys.
“We will definitely be a newer and younger group and a new-look team,” Lovett-Murray said.
“We’ve tried to replace the players that have left with good role players and inside players for team balance.”
The 145-game AFL veteran has been refreshed by his time out of the game and is raring to go.
“Twelve months (off) has helped me mentally and physically and I’m really looking forward to getting back out there,” he said.
“I prefer not to play in the midfield, so I’ll be working with the young boys to give them a crack this year.”
One young star who is sure to impress is Anthony Walker, who has been training with the Richmond Next Generation Academy and tearing up the Mercury Dve track.
Reigning best-and-fairest winner Kane Atkinson takes over the captaincy and will have to perform even better this season if his side is to have any chance of another finals berth.
IN: Chris Egan, Brodie Cook (Fitzroy Stars), Antonio Brizzi (Red Cliffs), Nathan Lovett-Murray (suspension)
OUT: Josh Atkinson (retired), Jarrod Atkinson (Airport West), Brad Dick (Kalgoorlie City), Thomas Higgins, Josh Wanganeen (Fitzroy Stars), Clayton McCartney (Doveton), Levi Power (Shepparton), Travis Morgan (Picola United), David Smith, Justin Terlich, Nathan Terlich (Shepparton Swans), Nathan Turner (Mooroopna)
GAME CHANGER: Nathan Lovett-Murray At a time when Rumba needed him the most, Lovett-Murray returns to provide a shining light for what could be a tough season. The former AFL star will swing from half-forward to half-back, with the game situation dictating which role he will need to fill, while also bearing the coaching burden.