READ MORE – Heathcote District league 2018 season review
AFTER a stellar season as one of the stars of Newbridge’s 2018 premiership team, Nathan Bacon is rejoining former club Lockington-Bamawm United.
With his move Bacon is returning to the club where he previously played in three premierships.
Before beginning a four-year stint with Newbridge in 2015, Bacon had been a member of the Cats’ 2011, 2013 and 2014 premiership teams in the Heathcote District league.
Midfielder Bacon finished second in Newbridge’s best and fairest this year and third in the Loddon Valley league’s Harding Medal.
“He’s a player who has just been getting better and better,” Cats coach Kahl Oliver said on Wednesday.
“He’s at that good age now of 24-25 and will bring a fair bit to us through the midfield.”
As well as Bacon, the Cats have another of their former premiership players back at the club in Rhys Woodland.
Woodland played in the Cats’ 2014 premiership and rejoins the club after a stint with Picola United, where he was captain this year and won a flag in 2017 when he was one of the standouts in the grand final win over Strathmerton.
“Rhys will play centre half-back… he’s a tall left-footer, so it’s good to have him back with us,” Oliver said.
The Cats have also lured another of their former players back in Jacob Gardiner, who was a member of their losing grand final team to Heathcote in 2010.
“He played all his juniors with us and after some time living in Melbourne and playing in the Amateurs he’s come back to work on his parents’ dairy farm just out of Locky,” Oliver said.
“He’s a really talented footballer who will play across half-forward for us. He has good height and is athletic.”
At this stage departures from the Cats are Damien Kelly, Xavier Kelly and Jordan Brown, while veteran Mick Dobson, who this year became the first Cat to 200 games in the HDFNL, has indicated to Oliver it’s unlikely he will play on.
The Cats this year finished fifth in what was their first season back in the finals since 2014.
As well as returning to the finals in what was a major step forward, the Cats also had the competition’s Rising Star winner in young forward Ricky Walsh.
“Ricky really came on in leaps and bounds as a small forward. But I’m hoping he can get a few more kms into his legs this pre-season and we can push him into the midfield,” Oliver said.
The Cats will begin pre-season training in late November.
Meanwhile, the HDFNL has earmarked Saturday, April 13, as the start date for its 2019 season.
A 2019 draft fixture has been sent to clubs, which if adopted would feature reigning premier Leitchville-Gunbower v Mount Pleasant, North Bendigo v Huntly, Elmore v Colbinabbin and LBU v Heathcote as round one games on April 13.
The draft fixture has White Hills with the bye in the opening round.
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