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December 07, 2017

Seymour footballer, Josh Prudden, made his AFL debut for the Western Bulldogs against the Gold Coast Suns up in Cairns on Saturday.

Don’t argue: Jack Murphy fends off an opponent

Josh Prudden has nominated Seymour as his second club for the 2018 season and Lions coach Nick Jewell said the AFL-listed player would have a huge impact on the club wherever he plays on the field.

The 23-year-old Western Bulldogs player has had a bad run with injury since getting drafted in 2012 and making his debut in the club’s come-from-behind victory against Gold Coast in Cairns.

But Jewell said he could tell straight away that Prudden, who is coming back from a shoulder reconstruction, was passionate about representing Seymour any way he could.

‘‘He had a good meeting with the Bulldogs last week and there’s a chance to rekindle his AFL career but he’s just as passionate about coming to Seymour,’’ Jewell said.

‘‘He couldn’t be happier about making us his number two club, and given he’s coming back from a shoulder reconstruction, I think we’ll get him for a fair bit of the season, which is really exciting.’’

Beyond saying Prudden would easily be the ‘‘best player in the Goulburn Valley Football League’’, Jewell was also excited about some of the leadership attributes the AFL player could bring to the Lions’ den.

‘‘Josh has been on an AFL list for four or five years ... so he’ll set a standard around the place that the majority of guys playing country footy probably haven’t seen before, because you don’t know some things until you learn them,’’ Jewell said.

‘‘He’ll bring that level of professionalism and obviously a great skill set — he’s a silky mover and a beautiful kick, so we’re really excited to have him back in.’’

‘‘At this stage it looks like we’re going to have a pretty young list — we’ve obviously lost some mature-age players — so to have a guy like him around will just be invaluable to those young players.’’

When he eventually unleashes Prudden on to the field, Jewell said he would happily grant the Bulldog a certain level of freedom, recognising that a successful recovery is the main aim.

‘‘I would let him play wherever he wants really,’’ Jewell said.

‘‘But I’d imagine through the midfield or off a running half-back, or maybe even as roaming half forward to give him a bit of a licence.

‘‘It all depends on how he is with his shoulder, and what Footscray needs from him coming back from rehab — what their plans are and what’s best for him, rather than what’s best for us. We need to give him the best opportunities to get back to where he needs to be.

‘‘He’ll give as much we want him to give, but obviously we don’t want to weigh him down too much with responsibility, as he’ll be focusing on his rehab. But I’m sure just by being around, he’s going to be someone the younger players can just watch and learn from ... so it’s just a win-win for the club.’’

Meanwhile hard-running midfielder Jack Murphy recently signed to both Seymour and the VFL side Coburg, in what Jewell said is another mutually beneficial situation.

‘‘It’s great to have him in that system, because it’s going to make him a much better player, certainly at our level, training and being involved in that system on a day-to-day basis, and if he’s not selected in their best 22 he’ll be back with us full time.

‘‘He can lock in for next 12 months that he’ll be training at a state league level, and that will make him a much better player.

‘‘He’s been developing nicely in the past few years, and obviously Andrew Sturgess — our ex-player — who’s the assistant coach at Coburg has seen enough in Jack to get him there.

‘‘So he’s got his opportunity, which is great for us and great for him.’’

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