By Tara Murray
The Greenvale Kangaroos have announced their first on field signing for the 2019-20 Victorian Premier Cricket season.
Having secured former New South Wales coach and Irish international Trent Johnston as coach, the Kangaroos now have a new captain on board.
Michael Stretton, who has moved to Melbourne in the off season, will captain the Kangaroos first XI.
Stretton comes to the Kangaroos having been captain of NSW premier club Bankstown. He brings more than 10 years of premier cricket experience.
A wicketkeeper-batsman, Stretton will play just as a batsman for the Kangaroos, but he will work with the wicketkeepers throughout the club.
Stretton said he was keen on helping the club continue to take that next step.
“I was impressed with the honest conversations that club coach, Trent Johnston, and director of cricket, Peter Di Venuto, had with me. I’m fully aware of the club’s recent history but I was excited by the vision that both Trent and Peter shared,” he said.
“The Hume City Council has done an incredible job with the set up at Greenvale and should be commended. The continuing developments will make it one of the best set ups for a premier club in the country in a few years time. It’s almost that now.”
Di Venuto said the club was delighted with Stretton’s appointment.
“I was very impressed with Michael as a person. His desire to accept the challenge in front of him, and be excited by it, certainly says a lot about his character. We are delighted with his appointment”
Di Venuto said the club was in discussions with number of other players and expected to make some further signings.
Having already signed Johnston as coach, the Kangaroos have been working hard on putting together a strong coaching team behind him.
Scott McNaughton, a premiership winning head coach in Cricket Tasmania’s Premier League, has come on board as an assistant coach.
Current Victorian selector Mark Ridgway will be a specialist fast bowling coach. Ridgway previously coached Casey South Melbourne, having played first class cricket for Tasmania claimed Victorian Premier Cricket’s top honour, the Ryder Medal.
Di Venuto said they now had five Level 3 high performance coaches at the club, including former Australian & Victorian spinner Ray Bright, who is working with the club’s 50 Academy players.
He said it was important to have high quality coaching staff to help support the young talented cricketers at the club.
“We understand that the establishment of depth and talent will still take some time, however it will be a lot quicker than some believe.
“The vision is certainly long term, with an eye on the short term. We will continue to look to introduce young talent and a few senior type players throughout the club to help their development.
“We, in conjunction with the council are building quality facilities and an awesome coaching staff for cricketers in the area to benefit from. As they say, build it and they will come.”