Former Kangaroo Flat star signs up at Bendigo Gold
THE Bendigo Gold has pulled-off a massive coup by recruiting former Kangaroo Flat star Tyrone Downie.
In one of the biggest signings of coach Aussie Jones' tenure, Downie has struck a deal to play for the Gold and has taken on a role as the VFL club's forward line development coach.
Downie, Flat's coach for the past two BFNL seasons, believes he has unfinished business at VFL level and jumped at the chance to learn from Jones.
"When I moved to Bendigo I come over to play VFL footy and have a crack at it; I got injured and it didn't really work out," Downie said.
"I've been at Kangaroo Flat ever since, which I've really enjoyed.
"But after coaching and the body's starting to feel alright, I thought if I'm going to give it a crack now's the time."
The BFNL inter-league forward has struggled with a knee injury in recent years, but he's confident he'll be fit to play a full VFL season.
Downie will likely line-up across half-forward and potentially midfield for the Gold, and he'll mentor Bendigo's young forwards.
"I'll just try and work with the younger boys and all the forwards about our leading patterns and how we operate up there," he said.
"I would like to coach again, obviously last season was a little bit disappointing being down the bottom.
"I think for me to coach again I've got to learn a bit more and Aussie's a really good coach and bloke to learn off."
Downie booted 255 goals for Kangaroo Flat, where he has played since 2008.
The 25-year-old is the perfect fit for the young Gold squad, coach Aussie Jones said.
"Trying to build coaching structure around our group we wanted experienced players to come in and that's where 'Tigga' fits as a player, but as a footy club it just ticks so many boxes," Jones said.
"He's experienced and a bigger body. He's coached in his own right.
"All our key position forwards are really young and we didn't have a forward line coach in Bendigo this year, so it's an enormous coup for the club."
After being on the verge of folding, the Gold's ability to attract Downie is a sign that the club has built respect from its survival campaign, Jones said.
"People that know footy and have seen the whole campaign and how professionally it's been run by Tim (Dickson) have to be looking at us in a different light going forward," he said.
"Once (Downie) saw our club had our issues in order, for him, it was a pretty easy choice."
The Gold has now signed 17 players for 2014.