The Kingborough Tigers have made one of the plays of the off-season, securing the services of former Hawthorn midfielder Kieran Lovell.
The Tigers’ midfield brigade will be bolstered in 2019 with the addition of the 21-year-old ball magnet, who joins his junior club after three seasons within the AFL system.
As part of a strong Hawthorn squad Lovell broke through to play two senior games during his time in the brown and gold, while also playing an instrumental role in VFL affiliate Box Hill’s 2018 flag triumph.
Delisted in October after the 2018 season, Lovell is now back in the state and firmly focused on passing on his experience to a young Tigers squad.
“It is very exciting to be back. It was a bit of a tough decision – I had to work through a few things with myself and my manager but came to the decision to come back home.
“There were offers all around the country, other state leagues, but I had to do a lot of weighing up and I think I’ve made the right choice. If I was going to move back home, it was always going to be the Tigers I’d choose to play with.”
The lure of playing in the yellow and black once again became even stronger for Lovell after spending time around the club in recent weeks.
“It was probably the pull of wanting to be home and to be around my close family.
“I had spent a couple of weeks here training in the pre-season and really liked the vibe of the place and believe we are heading in a really great direction and I want to be a part of that.
Lovell, taken by the Hawks with pick 22 at the 2015 national draft, impressed as a junior at the Tigers, going on to win Tasmania’s MVP at the under-18 national championships in 2015, as well as All Australian selection.
Lovell will join Ryan Matthews, Lachie Clifford and Blake Grant in a strong midfield contingent, with the addition of Lovell set to ease the burden of covering for midfield general Will Campbell, who will miss the start of the 2019 campaign after suffering a knee injury.
Renowned as a prolific ball winner Lovell is the latest signing in a strong off-season for the Tigers, following the likes of Huonville forward Michael Paul, Cygnet forward Elijah Reardon and the experienced Jarryd Drew, with Drew – a Burnie NWFL premiership player – joining the club as a playing assistant coach with playing experience in the VFL, NEAFL and TAC Cup.
The Kingborough Tigers Football Club are thrilled to announce the signing of Michael Paul from the Huonville Lions Football Club.
— Kingborough Tigers 🐯 (@Kingborough_FC) November 29, 2018
Although excited by these recruits Baumeler is remaining cool about how his side will fare in 2019.
“The only expectation is that we want to improve.
“To be brutally honest we won three games last year, so we are coming from a low base. Our improvement will come from within and this December-January period as we mould everything in and get everyone together.”
Lovell is adamant that he is yet to give up on his dream of cracking it as an AFL player in future, but his immediate focus is clearly on what he can bring to the Twin Ovals.
“I definitely haven’t given up, but I have taken a step back from football being the be-all and end-all in my life, so I’ve got to work out a few other things and try and have a well-balanced, rounded life.
“You see blokes getting picked up at 25, 26, 27 these days so it is definitely something I will strive towards in the future but right now I’m focussed on playing some good footy here.