Sandhurst secures WAFL midfielder Ryan Maldenis
SANDHURST has added to what shapes as potentially the best midfeld in the Bendigo Football League next year with the marquee signing of Ryan Maldenis from the WAFL.
The Dragons announced the signing of Maldenis from WAFL club East Perth on Friday.
Maldenis is a former team-mate of Sandhurst ruckman Tim Martin at East Perth and arrives at the Dragons with a strong recommendation from retired West Coast Eagle Adam Selwood.
The 21-year-old has played 46 senior games for East Perth over the past three years, winning the WAFL Football Budget magazine's Rising Star Award in 2012.
He was a member of this year's Earth Perth side that lost the WAFL grand final to West Perth.
Maldenis played primarily as a midfielder at East Perth, but spent the second half of this year manning some of the WAFL's most dangerous small forwards.
"He's a very good signing... we're rapt to get Ryan," Sandhurst coach Brett Fitzpatrick said.
"He's a midfielder who will give a physical contribution to that midfield mix, which is what we've been trying to bolster.
"He looks to be an ideal option to complement Blair Holmes and co in our midfield and comes with a very strong recommendation from Adam Selwood.
"Adam came back to us with a very well regarded opinion of Ryan as both a player and a person, so we're ecstatic."
Selwood was an East Perth team-mate of Maldenis.
Maldenis will join a Sandhurst midfield brigade that also includes captain Blair Holmes, the returning Lee Coghlan, Jon Coghlan, Nick Stagg and Mitch Dole, plus this year's Michelsen Medal-winning ruckman Martin.
The Dragons also have Jarrod Bateson returning to the club.
Bateson - who last played with Sandhurst in 2010 - has spent the past three years at the Shepparton Bears in the Goulburn Valley league.
"He's been playing off a half-back flank for Shepparton, so we're looking forward to getting Jarrod back to the club," Fitzpatrick said.
At this stage, the only confirmed departures from the Dragons team that finished fifth this year are Ricky Symes and Jake Ward, who have both joined White Hills.