READ MORE - LVFNL 2019 end-of-season club-by-club review
AFTER eight seasons and a premiership at Eaglehawk, midfielder Brodie Collins is returning home to Lockington-Bamawm United to begin his coaching career.
Collins has been appointed co-coach of the Cats alongside Kahl Oliver.
"I want to have a crack at coaching and having Ollie there makes it a bit easier and it was actually him who came up with the idea," Collins said on Wednesday.
"He has been coaching for a long time and was probably looking for a few fresh ideas and it gives me the opportunity to get a foot in the door without taking the full reins straight up, so, hopefully, it will be good for both of us and works well for the club."
Collins, 27, returns to Lockington-Bamawm United on the back of a Heathcote District league season that had promised plenty for the Cats, but ended with a straight sets finals exit.
The Cats won 13 of their 16 home and away games to finish second on the ladder, but lost the qualifying final to Colbinabbin by 29 points and first semi-final to Mount Pleasant by 23 points.
"The boys weren't overly happy with how it finished up and there's a lot of motivation to go harder and better again," Collins said.
"The best thing about it is the majority of the group is local kids; they were the team with the lowest points this year (average 27.8)... a lot of them have played together for a long time and I believe the only way it can go is up."
Collins is a premiership player at Lockington-Bamawm United, having been a member of the Cats' 2011 flag.
He has spent the past eight years at Canterbury Park where he has been one of the Bendigo league's most consistent grunt on-ballers and a regular top-five finisher in Eaglehawk's best and fairest.
Collins played in the Hawks' 2018 premiership, winning the AFL Victoria Medal, and captained the club this year.
"I'm rapt with my time at Eaglehawk... it took us a long time to achieve what we wanted to, but we got there in 2018," Collins said.
"I had a lot of good times there and made some life-long friends.
"I'm sad that I won't be back there next year, but when one door closes another opens and this is an opportunity to start a new journey back home.
"I trained a bit with Locky this year so, hopefully, it should be a fairly smooth transition."
Collins finished fifth in the Hawks' best and fairest this year - a season in which Eaglehawk was beaten by 14 points by Strathfieldsaye in the grand final.
Throughout his eight seasons at the Hawks Collins featured in the best players 71 times and kicked 59 goals.
Also headed to the Heathcote District league from Eaglehawk's grand final team is Jack Fallon, who has signed as an assistant coach with White Hills.
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