COLAC TIGERS premiership footballer Levi Dare says busy off-field commitments weighed heavily in his decision to leave the club and return to Cobden this season.
The star ruckman rejoins the Bombers, where he won two Maskell Medals as the Hampden league’s best-and-fairest, in a major coup for the club.
Dare said it was a difficult decision to leave the Tigers, but a growing business and the imminent birth of his first child with wife Isabella, made it hard to commit to the rigours of GFL football.
He is also fighting to return to the field from an injured knee, which sidelined Dare for the 2015 season at Colac.
“It was very tough,” Dare said.
“If I was fully fit I would definitely have the desire to play GFL, but with the injury, and I’ve also got the business in Camperdown and my wife’s due in early February, there’s a fair bit going on.
“I’m probably not going to get back until June and I think I’ll be pretty limited to maybe playing full-forward or something.
“So to get to Geelong every second week and training in Colac with those factors, it was going to be pretty tough.”
Dare was an influential part of Colac’s maiden Geelong league premiership in 2014, featuring in the best on seven occasions.
The 26-year-old said he cherished his time at the club under Tigers coach and former Geelong AFL footballer Paul Lynch.
“I was fortunate to play in that year we won the flag and play in every game,” Dare said.
“I’ve got a lot of mates there and Paul’s a great coach, so it was tough to leave, but circumstances forced my hand a little bit.”
Dare said playing alongside his youngest brothers Dom, for the first time, and Lincoln, who returned to the Bombers from Alvie in the off-season, also helped make his decision to return to Cobden easier.
“I’ve got the two boys there,” he said.
“I’ve never played footy with Dom and now he’s playing seniors, so that’s something I’m looking forward to.
“And when Lincoln signed there again, I thought it’d be a good option considering I might only play half the year.”
Dare said he was being mindful of not rushing back on to the field after undergoing major knee surgery last year.
“They say it’s a 12-month injury,” he said.
“I haven’t done too much on it at this stage, I’ve been able to play cricket which is good, but football and cricket are very different sports.
“But the plan is June and if I can get back before then I’ll be pretty happy, but I definitely don’t want to do an ACL again.”