Great article by Williamstown’s GM Chris Dixon…
Williamstown have signed two Frankston Dolphins players in their captain Jason Pongracic and Josh Pickess for 2017. Pongracic, 22, and Pickess, 21, both signed with the club for 2017 to extend their VFL careers after Frankston was not offered a license by AFL Victoria for next year.
General Manager of Football Chris Dixon discussed the sensitivity around recruiting the two Dolphins. “It’s obviously been a unique situation with Frankston and the players have been through a lot in the past few months dealing with the uncertainty and then trying to find a new home for 2017,” he said.
“It’s an unusual set of circumstances to be bringing in both Jason and Josh, and we’re really mindful and respectful that it might only be for the one season. Having said that, we’re happy we could provide both players with a home next season and we look forward to both of them making an impact.”
“They are two quality individuals who are committed to playing the highest level possible, and continuing to improve their game so we’re really excited by having them in our program.”
Pongracic captained Frankston in 2016 and has spent four years at the Dolphins, since coming from the Dandenong Stingrays TAC Cup program. A big-bodied inside midfielder who is known for his physicality and pressure around the contest, Pongracic ranked #2 for tackles and #3 for goal assists at the Dolphins in 2016.
“Jason is a player we’ve admired for a number of years and his progression to a VFL captain has been a credit to him and his development,” said Dixon. “We think he will provide us with some real grunt in the middle of the park with his ball-winning ability and the defensive side of his game.”
“He’s a professional and obviously brings in leadership skills to our club as well. He’s excited to hit the ground running and to continue to build on his 50 VFL games so far.”
On the other side of the equation, Pickess has spent the last three years with Frankston after also spending TAC Cup time with Dandenong. He played the first seven games of 2016 as a small forward before suffering an ankle injury that ruled him out for the rest of the year. Having built a reputation as a dangerous small forward with lightning pace, Pickess has been named in Frankston’s best players in 9 of his 27 games to date.
“Josh was a player who was well and truly on the draft radar at the end of last year, but unfortunately had his 2016 season ended with a horrific ankle injury,” said Dixon.
“His recovery is going extremely well and he’ll be up and running by the time our pre-season starts. We think he will add some genuine pace to our group and hopefully continue to put himself in the minds of recruiters.”