BFNL DECADE THAT WAS - The 2019 season
EAGLEHAWK will add Darcy Richards and Jack Dye into its forward line next season, as well as Matt Filo to the midfield brigade, with the trio the latest signings at Canterbury Park.
Richards and Filo have both previously played at Eaglehawk, while Dye is making the move into the BFNL from Leitchville-Gunbower.
Richards rejoins Eaglehawk following six seasons at North Bendigo during which he won three premierships and spent his time playing a mix of forward and back.
While he has the versatility to play at both ends, Eaglehawk coach Travis Matheson has indicated a likely forward role for Richards next year.
"Darcy is a player we've put a fair bit of work into getting back given he's spent some considerable time at the club previously (2011, 12 and 13)," Matheson said on Thursday.
"So we're really happy to have him back on board. He brings a fair bit of leadership to the club.
"We've only had two sessions back on the track so far, but already he has been one of the blokes who has been leading the way.
"Previously at Eaglehawk he played as a defender, but he's obviously played some good footy at North as a forward too... with how our list is shaping up I'd say he'll spend his time up front."
Richards, who booted 79 goals for the Bulldogs the past two seasons, is the second former Eaglehawk player returning to Canterbury Park from North Bendigo alongside Jarrod Findlay.
Filo, who played in the Hawks' 2017 grand final team, has had two seasons away from Eaglehawk, playing at Kangaroo Flat in 2018 and Castlemaine this year, winning the Magpies' best and fairest.
"We were really impressed with Matt when we played against Castlemaine this year. He was their best player against quality opposition and really took it up to our boys," Matheson said.
"He's come a long way with his footy over the past couple of years and I think he'll get some real benefit in playing in a side with a lot of quality players around him."
As well as Richards, Dye will also be an addition to the Eaglehawk forward line in 2020.
Having missed all of 2018 with a shoulder injury sustained in the 2017 finals series, Dye returned to the field for Leitchville-Gunbower this year and was the Bombers' leading goalkicker with 43.
"Jack has a great attitude and has been a ripping fella to deal with. His priority is to get the best he can out of his football," Matheson said.
The additions of Richards, Filo and Dye follow the Hawks' earlier recruiting announcements of Findlay, former Brisbane Lion Billy Evans, Jake Twycross, Dylan Hanley and Charlie Langford.
It will be a significantly new-look Eaglehawk side next year given the departures that include Lachlan Atherton, Trent Bacon, Justin Bateson, Brodie Collins, Jesse Collins, Jack Fallon, Tim Hill, Ben McPhee, Tyler Miles, Dillon Williams and Sean Williams.
The Hawks began pre-season this week.
EAGLEHAWK 2019 SNAPSHOT:
Finished - 2nd (17-5)
Decade record - 136-67
A scoreline of 10.20 will haunt the Hawks over summer after squandering the chance for back-to-back flags with their 14-point grand final loss to Strathfieldsaye.
Under new coach Travis Matheson the reigning premiers were 4-3 and in fifth position after seven rounds.
But after the Hawks' early season hangover they hit their straps, reeling off 12 wins in a row by an average of 81 points until their momentum was halted with a 72-point shellacking from the Storm in a second semi-final blowout.
Regrouped with a four-point preliminary final victory over Gisborne, before kicking themselves out of the premiership in the grand final against the Storm when they became just the third team in BFNL grand final history to have at least five more scoring shots than their opponent, but get beaten.
Best player votes:
Ben McPhee - 50
Brodie Collins - 40
Jesse Collins - 39
Sean Williams - 50
Riley Saunders - 46
Ben McPhee - 32
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