Ex-Saint, MPFNL star joins Rosellas

The competition’s best just got better.

Reigning Southern league Division 1 premier Cheltenham has added former St Kilda livewire Jack Lonie for 2024.

Lonie, 27, played 87 matches for the Saints before being delisted at the end of 2021.

He played at Old Haileybury in 2022 before returning to his junior club Seaford in the Mornington Peninsula league in 2023.

Despite playing more of a midfield role than he did at AFL level, Lonie still booted 46 goals in both of his past two seasons.

One of Lonie’s stronger performances during his best-and-fairest winning season at Seaford came against Chelsea, when he gathered 47 disposals and kicked six goals.

The left-footer is close mates with a number Cheltenham players, including premiership captain Jack Worrell.

Cheltenham president Adam King was rapt to have Lonie on board, not only for what he brings as a player but for what he can also teach the young Rosellas.

“He’s just a class player and a quality goal kicker, we’re excited by what he can bring,” King said.

“With our style of footy we’re confident he will complement our list really well because he’s been in the system, he knows his footy.

“I think anyone that watches him knows he has a really high work rate and that all starts on the training track.

“Having players like him around the club that have played at a higher level, they’re very much aware that it starts at training.

“That’s going to be something we’re going to try and engrain into our younger players and blokes like Jack around will continue to drive that.”

Seaford was naturally disappointed to lose Lonie, with new coach Rohan Bleeker declaring the Tigers “tried to move maintains’’ to keep him.

“Our understanding was that he was going to be with us,’’ Bleeker said.

“Pretty much the whole footy world thought so seeing that at league B&Fs and stuff he was excited for next year.

“But he made the decision to move on and play with some mates.

“Interesting decision but one that we can’t really control I guess.’’

Bleeker added: “There’s no hard feelings towards Jack. You can’t really knock a guy for wanting to enjoy his footy and if that means that he’s going to play with some friends then so be it.’’