SOUTH Gawler’s aggressive off-season recruiting has continued with the signing of former Virginia captain Ben Russell for the 2018 Barossa, Light & Gawler football season.
The 28-year-old midfielder will join former Gold Coast Sun Timmy Sumner and returning Lions player Tyson Panagiotou at the den next year.
Russell played seven seasons at the Rams, winning four club A-grade best and fairest awards and captaining the A-grade side to the 2015 Adelaide Plains premiership.
After playing 125 games with Virginia, Russell said he was ready for a new challenge.
“I’ve been there for a while now…it’s more for the change I think, and the BL&G is a league I’d been keeping a close eye on and, obviously, know how strong it is,” he said.
“I had a couple of meetings, I did talk to Gawler Central and Barossa District.
“I went back to Central a couple of times, being close to home, but at the end of the day I picked a side that felt best to me.”
The former APFL association team captain said he was happy to sign with South.
“I’m pretty pumped, it’s something I didn’t want to mess around with for too long, I wanted to do the right thing by Virginia,” he said.
“I was pretty confident that I was going to go.
“It was hard to leave; (that) was another reason I wanted to do it quite fast, because I knew that I’d have a few people try to sway me to stay around.
“It’s something that I’ve thought about the whole year.”
The Lions finished fourth in 2016 after they were eliminated by Freeling in the finals, and Russell is hoping to help take the team further next season.
“I’m most looking forward to the challenge, I’ve got to prove myself again, obviously, going into a new league, and I know a couple of guys
from the team,” he said.