Next season will mark a decade since George Town won the last of its eight-consecutive NTFA division 1 premierships, and coach Allan O’Sign is hopeful of a finals return.
The Saints have struggled for on-field success since 2009 but have been in recruitment overdrive after finishing last season with just four points to their name.
Decorated North Launceston swingman Zach Burt and Northern Bombers two-time premiership defender Corey Nankervis will both return home to play with their childhood club in 2019.
The signatures come after it was announced last month that Magarey Medallist and Tasmanian Hall of Fame member Luke Crane, his brother Todd, forward Josh Knight and ex-club captain Corey Burr would also be making comebacks.
Burt, 24, a dual State League player of the year recipient and four-time flag winner, kicked 29 goals last season despite spending most of it at centre half back.
“I have played State League with North for eight years but it’s time for me to go back home, freshen up and help out George Town,” Burt said.
“I played all my junior football there from Auskick through to under-16s and I’m just excited to be able to spend some more time with family and play with a few blokes I grew up with.
“I’d like to set myself up in the next 12-18 months and playing in the NTFA will give me a bit more time to work and what not. ”
Burt, who is just three games off receiving automatic North Launceston life membership, said he would one day return to UTAS Stadium.
He said he leaves with the Bombers’ blessing.
“The premierships are a big highlight but making new life-long friends will be the biggest thing I’ve taken out of playing football at North,” Burt said.
“I’ll be able to pass on some knowledge to the George Town boys about just doing the basics well and how to prepare for games.”
Nankervis – brother of Richmond premiership ruckman Toby – has played the past two seasons with North Shore in the Geelong Football League since winning TSL flags alongside both Burt and O’Sign in 2014-15.
O’Sign said the club has put an emphasis on recruiting former juniors back to Blue Gum Park. “We had to do something and it’s an exciting time,” O’Sign said.
“We’ve got a young group of kids that are learning but we’ve struggled with a lack of leadership, apart from Adam Zanevera and myself, and bringing these guys to the club will give them some excellent role models to be around.”
O’Sign said his charges and the club have the ability to handle the rise of expectations that come with heavy recruiting. “Every year we start with a goal to reach the finals and then obviously go deep into finals,” O’Sign said.
“We will look at what we’ve got come pre-season and set some achievable goals, but for a club that has struggled in the past few years – the time is now for us to push those top teams.” O’Sign said Ben Bell and Joe Bodis would also be returning after an interrupted 12 months.
George Town will take part in the premier division under the NTFA’s re-structure for next season with the club’s annual meeting being held at the clubrooms on Tuesday, November 6, from 7pm.
Tamar Cats announced last week that they would be heading into temporary recess next year, with a desire to return to division 2 in 2020.