THE chance to play alongside his mates again was one of the big lures to attracting Kain Robins back to Eaglehawk for the 2013 Bendigo Football League season.
Robins confirmed yesterday that after two years coaching Hopetoun in the Mallee Football League, he is returning to Canterbury Park.
The signature of Robins has been one of the most sought-after in the region in recent weeks, but it’s the Hawks who have secured the services of the versatile star.
“It’s good to be back at Eaglehawk. I’ve got itchy feet to get back in and play there again,” Robins said.
“I’ve got a lot of mates there, so in the end, it was a fairly easy decision.”
Robins, 28, has had a decorated career in the BFL at the Hawks, that included winning the 2006 Michelsen Medal, while he was also a member of Eaglehawk’s back-to-back premiership teams of 2007-08.
Further enhancing his standing in the competition as one of the league’s elite players, Robins was named at centre half-back in the BFL’s 2000-09 Team of the Decade, while he is also a former Bendigo Pioneer and Bendigo Bomber.
“I suppose there have been a few good offers from different clubs over the past few weeks, but my heart lies at Eaglehawk, so that’s where I’ll be playing,” said Robins, who will also be an assistant coach.
Robins rejoins the Hawks after they missed the finals for the first time since 2002 this year after finishing the season with an 8-10 record in what was a year of rebuilding.
“There is still a solid core group of blokes there, and they were able to blood a few kids this year as well, so hopefully, a few more blokes sign on and we can be competitive,” Robins said.
Robins’ signing is the first major recruiting announcement by a BFL club ahead of the 2013 season.
“We’ve been talking to him for a while, and obviously, he has been one of the most sought-after players in the region over the past couple of weeks,” Eaglehawk coach Luke Monaghan said.
“We’re obviously rapt to get him back. He’s a quality player and will step back in to being one of the top-line players in the competition.
“He’s one of those players who you can put wherever you need, whether it’s forward, back or midfield, but we’ll settle him into a regular spot.”
As well as Robins, Monaghan said Pascale Craig had indicated his intentions to return to Eaglehawk, where he played under-18s and was coached by Monaghan.
Craig has been aligned with South Bendigo while on the North Ballarat Roosters’ VFL list. As yet the Hawks are unsure if they will have Craig full-time or as an aligned VFL player.
“He’s still to decide. We’re more than happy for him to pursure his VFL career, but he definitely wants to make us his local club,” Monaghan said.
The Hawks have also signed multiple Calivil United premiership player Brock Rogers, who this year had a strong season with White Hills.
“He’s the type of player we need who gives us a bit more experience and some run and carry,” Monaghan said.
“While Kain has been the big signing, it’s good to get a few other players come in around him as well.”