SOUTH Bendigo has added some AFL experience to its list for 2018 with the signing of former Hawthorn player Josh Thurgood.
Thurgood previously played 13 AFL games – all losses – for Hawthorn between 2005 and 2007.
The 33-year-old is coming off a knee injury sustained while playing with Port District in the Adelaide Football League in 2016.
Now living in Bendigo, Thurgood last year developed a connection with South Bendigo where his sons are part of the Bloods’ Auskick program.
“Coming back from a knee injury and having been out for 18 months, we won’t take any short cuts with him because we know the benefit he will give us when he’s playing,” Bloods coach Brady Childs said on Wednesday.
“He’s an ex-defender at AFL level, but he has been playing a lot up forward in the amatuers in South Australia, which is where we see him fitting in for us.
“One of the positives is he previously played with a small forward like we have with Kaiden (Antonowicz) and he knows how that structure works.
“And he watched four or five of our games last year, so he has an understanding of how we go about it.
“You look at the knowledge he would have gained from playing in the AFL, VFL, SANFL and amateurs in South Australia; he will be great for not only the younger players, but also from a coaching point of view in bringing in some new ideas.”
One of the moments Thurgood is known for during his AFL career was suffering a fractured cheekbone in 2005 in a collision with Essendon’s Matthew Lloyd, who was wearing an armguard on return from injury.
As well as Thurgood, the Bloods have also recently added Donald’s Brody Haddow to their list as they strive for a return to the BFNL finals for the first time since 2012.
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Haddow has captained Donald for the past two seasons and was best on ground for North Central in its inter-league game against Central Murray in 2016.
“He’s a midfielder-forward with plenty of ability, so it will be great to see him have a go at the next level,” Childs said.
Other recruits the Bloods also have signed on for 2018 include Quade Johnstone from the Shepparton Swans, Callum Crisp, Lachlan Furness, Dylan McCutcheon and Corey Daniels.
The Bloods’ first practice match will be against Balwyn on March 10 for the Shaun Bergin Memorial Cup.