Werribee sign quartet

Jake Smith (left) and Jaelen Pavlidis (centre) during preseason training (Werribee FC)

Werribee has addressed the loss of star onballers Tom Gribble, Matt Hanson and Shaun Mannagh with five midfield additions for the next Victorian Football League season.

Ex-Geelong AFL-listed player Copper Whyte headlines the incoming signings and is joined by former Williamstown duo Daly Andrews and Corey Preston and youngsters Jaelen Pavlidis and Jake Smith who both have family ties to the club.

Whyte, the penultimate pick in the 2021 AFL draft spent two years at Geelong and following an injury interrupted first season earned an AFL debut in 2023.

Daly Andrews, who played his junior football in Werribee and has almost 50 games of state league experience under his belt including a stint with South Adelaide when COVID cancelled the 2020 VFL season.

Arriving with Andrews is 20-year-old Corey Preston who played every game for the Seagulls over the past two campaigns after graduating from the Eastern Ranges.

Jaelen Pavlidis also crosses from a rival VFL club Greater Western Sydney and joins Werribee almost three decades after his father John Pavlidis played at the club.

Meanwhile, Western Jets best and fairest winner Jake Smith follows in the footsteps of his father Karl and grandfather Brian Smith who both pulled on the black and gold during their playing days.

Werribee football manager Mark Micallef said the club was thrilled to have all five players on board.

“Cooper is an exciting addition having spent two years on an AFL list. We see him playing a number of different roles with his burst of speed and kicking ability, he’s got a really nice left foot,” he said.

“Daly is a midfielder with good speed and the ability to play both inside and outside. He joins the club after statistically his best year of state league footy and will be important for us with his experience.

“CJ (Corey) is one of the top young players in the VFL with the ability to play multiple positions. He’s a nice kick of the football, takes the game on and plays with attacking flair.

“We’ve tracked Jaelen for a couple of years now and are delighted to have secured his services after a solid season up in Sydney. He’s a hard running midfielder who can play a variety of roles.

“Jake is a big-bodied midfielder who had a fantastic year in the Coates League and comes in with knowledge of our program having trained with us last season through our relationship with the Jets.”