THE Bendigo Gold have landed one of the Bendigo Football League’s elite midfielders by signing Sandhurst’s Lee Coghlan.
Coghlan – who won the Michelsen Medal in 2009 as an 18-year-old – committed to the VFL club last night, but will remain aligned with the Dragons.
“I’m not going there because I’ve got a dream to play AFL or anything like that, I just want to learn a few new things from the people at the club,” Coghlan said yesterday.
“I want to improve my footy and try to get a bit more out of myself while I’m still young.”
Next year will be Coghlan’s first season of state league football.
Two years ago the 22-year-old moved to Western Australia to play with West Perth in the WAFL.
However, he injured his hamstring, which had caused him persistent problems in 2010, at his first training session in the west, and after spending a month trying to get it right, returned to Sandhurst for the 2011 BFL season.
“My body is what held me back for those couple of years after I won the Michelsen,” Coghlan said.
“I really wanted to make a go of it over in Western Australia, but I was having problems with my hamstrings, which I couldn’t get over... I couldn’t even train while I was over there.
“I’ve always wanted to play at a state league level, but at the same time, I’ve wanted to have confidence in my body.
“I’ve got more faith in my body now. Probably the only issue at the moment is I had a bit of a shoulder problem late last season.
“But we’re working through that and it is coming along well.
“The Gold have gone above and beyond to make sure I get my shoulder right and ready for the start of next season.”
Gold coach Aussie Jones said the club was thrilled to have secured one of the BFL’s top midfielders.
“I reckon over the past couple of years footy has gone back to players like Lee,” Jones said.
“That’s the type of players who are smart, use the footy well and read the game well.
“All the game sense work we’ve been doing at training, he has been a standout and he’ll have no problems fitting in.
“In terms of it being a big signing for the club, he won a Michelsen Medal as an 18-year-old and is just a gun, so we’re rapt to have him.
“He’s fit and committed and been training well and just keen to get in and have a crack at it.”
Jones said Coghlan would form a key part of the Gold’s on-ball brigade, while he also had the capacity to push forward and be dangerous inside 50.
“He’ll be one of our starting midfielders, but he can also go forward and kick goals as well,” Jones said.
“One thing about our squad is all the players are going to have to be flexible and able to play in a variety of positions all over the ground.”
Meanwhile, Jones expects that by Christmas the Gold will have at least 20 players signed ahead of their stand-alone season in 2013.
The Gold will have a list of 36 players.
“A lot of the guys who are training with us at the moment will fill those spots, but we’ve still got to decide who fits and who doesn’t,” Jones said.