ONE of Golden Square’s favourite sons will make a shock return to senior football on Good Friday.
Nick Carter, a two-time premiership coach of the Bulldogs and a premiership player in 2009, is a certain starter for the Bendigo Football Netball League season-opener against Kangaroo Flat at MyJet Oval.
Carter, who will be 35 next month, has trained strongly since Christmas and showed his class in a recent practice match against Shepparton United by kicking five of Square’s 10 goals.
“The last three months he’s trained really hard,’’ Golden Square coach Rick Ladson said yesterday.
“He’s really keen to play and his game against Shepparton United was very good.
“It’s awesome for our group to have him on board. We’ll have plenty of young guys coming through our side and having Nick there alongside them will help them walk a bit taller.”
Carter hasn’t played senior footy since the 2009 BFNL grand final when the Bulldogs defeated South Bendigo.
He coached the club to the 2010 and 2011 premierships before taking a step back from club footy to play a key role in setting up the Central Victorian Australian Football Commission.
The former Fitzroy, Brisbane and Melbourne midfielder looks set to play a major role in a new-look Golden Square forward line that will try and cover the loss of star full-forward Grant Weeks.
“At the moment he’ll play deep forward, but as the season goes on it will vary,’’ Ladson said.
“He adds another dynamic in attack for us. The way Nick attacks the footy and puts pressure on defenders, it’s going to be very handy for us. He can take a good grab and is great at ground level. He’ll give opposition defenders a few worries, that’s for sure.”
Carter will also be on hand to help guide Ladson through his first senior coaching role.
“For me, personally, Nick has been a great help. Not only with footy stuff, but life in general. He’s always there for a chat,’’ Ladson said.
The Bulldogs squad for Friday’s clash with Kangaroo Flat will feature a blend of youth and experience.
“We’re looking forward to getting the season started,’’ Ladson said.
“We’re pretty happy with how the pre-season went and we’ve got a number of young players who have put their hand up to play this week.
“It’s an exciting time for everyone.”