LEE Coghlan describes his return to Bridgewater in the Loddon Valley league as his football journey going full circle.
Midfielder Coghlan played junior football - and three senior games - at Bridgewater before carving out a glittering career at Sandhurst in the BFNL.
The 32-year-old-old played more than 200 senior games with Sandhurst, was a member of the club's 2016 premiership team, captained the club and won both the BFNL Michelsen Medal and Dragons' best and fairest in 2009, as well as skippering the BFNL inter-league team in 2017.
But he's ready to return to where his football began, becoming the fourth BFNL premiership player this off-season to join Bridgewater.
"I'm really looking forward to heading back out to Bridgewater," Coghlan said on Thursday.
"I played all my junior footy at Bridgy and still have a lot of close connections with people I have grown up with out there.
"It's where it all started for me and I have some very vivid memories of playing footy when I was as young as 10 in the under-17s.
It's where it all started for me and I have some very vivid memories of playing footy when I was as young as 10 in the under-17s.- Lee Coghlan
"I also remember playing three senior games with the club alongside my brother Dave when I was in my top-age year at the Pioneers (2008) and they are great memories.
"It's basically my footy career going full circle. For a long time I've thought I'd try to finish up out at Bridgy and it feels like this is now the right time to do that.
"I've absolutely enjoyed all my time at Sandhurst; it has been the most incredible ride, but I see this as the right time to head back out to Bridgy given the end is probably pretty close for me in terms of my footy career.
"Probably a big thing for me in making the decision is to help out the young players at the club as much as I can.
"The club has obviously got some great recruits already, which is going to add to the team, but there is some really good young talent who have got 40 to 50 senior games under their belt now."
The signing of Coghlan follows Bridgewater having already recruited the Strathfieldsaye premiership trio of Lachlan Sharp (co-coach with Rick Ladson), Harry Conway and Jack Neylon, as well as defender Joe Mayes, who is heading back to the Mean Machine after spending the past two years with the Storm.
"I turn 33 this weekend, so I'm pretty realistic in terms of where I'm at in my footy," Coghlan said.
"I'm not going out there thinking I'm going to tear it up every week, but I am really looking forward to being an on-field leader and getting involved with helping the young guys and trying to make the team as successful as possible."
Coghlan played 14 of Sandhurst's 21 games this year averaging 16 disposals, with his final match for the club the six-point grand final defeat to arch-rival Golden Square last month.
"I've been at Sandhurst basically since I was 15, so it's more than half my life I've spent at the club," Coghlan said.
"I'm really proud to be a life member of the club and also to have captained for the past three years, which is something I enjoyed more than I thought I would to be honest.
"Having the captaincy the last three years has really helped keep me motivated and wanting to keep improving as a player and a person.
"I'm hoping I can take all those experiences I've had at Sandhurst out to Bridgy and assist in any way I can."
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