FRESH off winning the Central Murray league’s best and fairest medal, Joel Helman is returning to play with North Bendigo in the Heathcote District league in 2019.
Helman spent this year playing with the Cohuna Kangas and was the winner of the league’s Jack Betts Medal.
Helman joined the Kangas following a season in which he played with North Bendigo in 2017, while he is also a former player with the Bulldogs’ arch-rival, Leitchville-Gunbower.
Helman provides the Bulldogs with versatility given his ability to play forward and through the midfield, while he also played at full-back for North Bendigo in its grand final defeat to Leitchville-Gunbower in 2017.
“The boys spoke a lot about Joel this year because they hold him in high regard in terms of his ability and the type of person he is,” North Bendigo coach Matt Dillon said on Thursday.
“To win a league medal like he did this year is obviously testament to the way he goes about his footy and we’re excited to have a player of his quality back with us.
“We’ll look at him to fill a midfield/forward role for us. He’s a very powerful player, is still fairly young and is only going to continue to improve, so it’s exciting to see what the next few years hold in store for him.”
You could be forgiven for thinking the Bulldogs have only been interested in recruiting players whose surnames begin with H.
As well as Helman, the Bulldogs also have gun forward Brady Herdman returning after a short-lived retirement of one year, plus they have signed Jake Hyland from Girgarre and Shane Harris from Inglewood.
From this year’s team that was beaten in the grand final by Leitchville-Gunbower by nine points the Bulldogs have lost star ruckman Troy Kelm, Cheatley Medal runner-up Jeremy Mills, Daniel Morris and full-forward Sean Christopher.
North Bendigo kicks off its pre-season training next Monday.
Meanwhile, the Bulldogs have appointed Ben Dyett as their new under-17 coach.
Dyett has previously coached Sandhurst and Kangaroo Flat’s under-18s in the Bendigo league, which included leading the Dragons to five premierships.
He joins the Bulldogs having spent this year as a senior assistant coach with Maryborough-Castlemaine District league runner-up Natte-Bealiba.
The Bulldogs finished seventh in the under-17 competition this year.
While the 2019 Heathcote District league fixture is still to be officially ratified, the Bulldogs – who have played in five consecutive senior grand finals – look set to begin next year with a home game against Huntly.
Meanwhile, the North Central Football League season is slated for an April 6 start next year.
The 2019 fixture is still to be officially ratified by the NCFL board, but at this stage the opening round features:
Birchip-Watchem v Charlton
Donald v Wycheproof-Narraport
Boort v St Arnaud
Sea Lake Nandaly Tigers v Wedderburn
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