BIRREGURRA recruit Paul Cass says he crossed to the Saints this season to play football with good mate Christian Kelly again.
The 41-year-old veteran had all but hung up the boots after the end of last season with Alvie – his club of the past 13 years.
But Cass said former Swans teammate Kelly, who crossed to Birregurra this year, and Saints assistant coach Anthony Holt talked him into a return to the field in round 11.
“Last year I was pretty unlikely to play again, I was pulling up a bit sore at the end of the year but I never actually said I was retiring, I suppose I just needed a rest,” he said.
“I was working in Tassie at the start of this year and got back and caught up with Christian when Alvie played Birre and he said for me to come out for a run.
“That was the only reason I went out there, to see if I could get fit enough to play with Christian again, I’ve known him since I coached him in the under-17s.”
Cass has kept himself in peak condition with a mixture of cross training, swimming and bike riding.
The star forward has shown enough – kicking 13 goals in the past two weeks in the reserves – to have him in the mix to play his first senior game with the Saints in their blockbuster clash against Forrest.
“I’ve enjoyed getting back into footy at a different club, it’s good to listen to Paul Lynch and his ideas on footy,” he said.
“I’d achieved a lot at Alvie that a few people won’t ever achieve so I was happy with the 13 years of service I’d put in.”
Cass led the Swans to three grand finals in 1999, 2000 and 2005 with a premiership medal in 2000 to go with his 1995 flag with Bendigo Football League club Kyneton.
Saints coach Paul Lynch said Cass’s inclusion was the only possible change ahead of tomorrow’s “next step”.
“We’ve been looking forward to this month against the top sides for a while, we were beating the second-rung sides quite comfortably so we’ll go in tomorrow with nothing to lose,” he said.
“The win last week was a small step, Forrest is our next step.”
Forrest coach Justin Bliss, who will lead from the sidelines tomorrow due to suspension, said the match was a danger game.
“We’ve just got to work on everything we’ve been training to do,” he said.
“We’re playing the way we want to play, we’ve just got to keep improving.”
Simpson’s injury woes continue
SIMPSON’S injury concerns have continued with the announcement that captain Daniel Mason will miss the rest of the season.
Tigers coach Jason Cartwright said Mason would miss tomorrow’s clash with Alvie as well as the next six to eight weeks as he recovers from a compound fracture in a finger.
Mason joins David Weel and Nathan Harding, who had their seasons cut short by knee injuries, on Simpson’s long-term injury list.
“He’s the skipper so we’re always going to miss him and his leadership,” Cartwright said.
Dolphins aiming to clinch top-three spot
ATOP-THREE spot remains a season goal for Lorne footballers.
The Dolphins are two games outside the CDFL top three and take on third-placed South Colac at Stribling Reserve this weekend.
Lorne’s run to finals includes second-placed Birregurra, Alvie and Apollo Bay and the Dolphins need to win games while higher teams lose to make top three a reality.
Dolphins coach Drew Steven said his team wanted to make a winning charge towards finals.
“We want to win the next two games against South and Birre and we know that’s a big factor for us come finals with that second chance,” he said.
Elusive win fuels Otway Districts
OTWAY Districts coach Adam Harris says the lure of an elusive win is keeping spirits high at the Gellibrand club.
Harris said the winless Demons would field one of their strongest teams this season against Irrewarra-Beeac at Gellibrand Recreation Reserve this weekend.
He said injury-plagued forward Chris Paatsch would play his fourth match for the year, while goal-kicking midfielder Dean Mahoney had returned from a two-month holiday.
Apollo Bay wants progress
APOLLO Bay will be out to cement its status as this season’s most improved team when it clashes with Western Eagles tomorrow.
The Hawks failed to win a game last year but are chasing their fifth victory for 2012 when they travel to Irrewillipe Recreation Reserve.
Hawks assistant coach Tim Smith said increased enthusiasm from the playing group had boosted the club this season and he said his team was eager to continue its improvement.
Full previews appear in the Colac Herald newspaper.