- Written by Walter Pless
- Published: 22 February 2014
Photo: Brayden Mann (left) and Joel Stone have left Devonport City for South Hobart and Tilford Zebras, respectively [PlessPix]
Joel Stone’s transfer from Devonport City to Tilford Zebras has set tongues wagging.
Devonport City president, Rod Andrews, issued the following statement today:
“Over the weekend, we, the Board and Coaching staff of the Devonport Strikers, were informed that Victory League star Joel Stone will be moving to Hobart. It’s our understanding that Joel will sign with the Tilford Zebras over the next few days.
Joel’s departure comes just four weeks away from the beginning of the season, and a week after 2013 Victory League Golden Boot winner Brayden Mann announced his departure from the coast. Naturally, as a club and as a community, we have been devastated by these departures, so close to the beginning of the season.
It’s important to understand that we have no animosity or grudge against the players involved or the clubs who have successfully poached Brayden and Joel (let’s not mince words here, whatever way it’s spun, they have been poached), but it’s important that supporters of this fantastic Statewide concept understand the end result of this.
Put simply, if clubs in the North become nothing more than feeder clubs to the cashed up clubs in the South (our players are not the only ones who have been offered inducements to move to Hobart), I fear for the future of the league, as we simply cannot sustain player losses of this level.
It’s no secret that in terms of junior development we punch way above our weight up here, and the entire North West Coast sporting community should be proud of the achievements of all four Coastal clubs in terms the players we continue to produce. We celebrate our success with players like Jeremy Walker, and Jesse Curran, making their way at Hyundai A-League Clubs, as we see this as an obvious positive step in their respective football futures. However, we see little if any benefit for the league, club or players, if they simply move sideways to clubs in the same level of competition as ours.
While our supporters, player group and importantly the junior fans who come and watch these ‘local heroes’ play are shattered by these shock departures, the Devonport City Soccer Club (and indeed the North West Coast as a whole) is made up of individuals with character, pride and single minded determination. Rest assured we will not sit back and accept these losses, and will respond accordingly.