Apollo Bay football officials believe the club has more than covered its off-season departures with its latest haul of premiership-experienced recruits.
Key forwards Jackson Macleod, who has returned to Geelong district league club Thomson, and Casey McDonald, retired, have joined onballers Dion Lawson and Johno Benallack on the Hawks’ departure list.
But the coastal club has welcomed a host of decorated players including Bell Post Hill forward Jayden Ettridge, a Geelong Amateur trio of midfielders Baden Dodd and Luke Souter, and key forward Damien Zaparenkov, while inside mid Michael McKenzie has returned after a year with Central Highlands league club Buninyong which finished runner-up.
Second-year Hawks coach Brent Macleod said the new players had more than covered the club’s outs.
“It was probably a bit of damage control, we needed to replace the players we had lost which I believe we have,” he said.
“And we’ve probably added on it as well, the list is already looking a bit stronger than last season, which is pleasing.”
Ettridge joins the club following seasons with Geelong district league clubs Anakie and Bell Post Hill, where he won premierships in 2016 and ‘17, when he earned the best-on-ground medal for his six-goal performance.
The three-time GDFL Team of the Year representative has averaged 68 goals a season in the past two years with the Panthers, and won the GDFL goalkicking award this season for his 60 goals.
“I’d heard Jayden was getting pursued by Lorne, I actually played cricket against him last week so I had a bit of a chat with him and it progressed from there,” Macleod said.
See Wednesday’s Colac Herald for more.