Talented onballer Alex Hay will make a return to his junior club, signing on to play for the Deni Rovers for the 2018 Picola League season.
The 23 year-old’s return comes after six years away from the club due to schooling, having played 27 senior games for the Rovers before his departure.
Since leaving the Roos, Hay has played at a high level of footy, notching up 40 senior games in the Goulburn Valley Football League for Benalla and Seymour playing in the middle and running off half-back.
Despite getting a taste of the higher level of football, Hay said he was excited to come back to his home club and play under senior coach Josh Bode again.
‘‘I just finished uni and am keen to return home,’’ he said.
‘‘I’m excited to play under Josh (Bode) again. He was great for me when I played senior footy for the Rovers when I was 15.
‘‘I’m pretty thankful for the opportunity that the Roos gave me at such a young age and I see this as a good opportunity to come back and help the club have some success.
‘‘My brother Joe is also hopeful of coming back to play a couple of games, so hopefully we can have the opportunity to play senior footy together.’’
It was also announced that Hay would take over as the thirds coach for the 2018 season.
The onballer has had success at the club before at thirds level, playing for the 2009 premiership winning thirds side.
Also a part of that premiership win were current Rovers players Dylan May, Adam Bodey, Alex Rourke, Rhys McCulloch and Brendan and Damian Hope.
‘‘I’m pretty excited to play alongside those blokes again,’’ Hay said.
‘‘Josh (Bode) coached us in the thirds that year as well.’’
Bode also announced that another member of that ‘09 thirds side will return to the club, with Brandon Cooper back at Roverland in 2018.
‘‘Having your junior players return to the club is what you always want,’’ he said.
‘‘Haysey (Hay) will be a great mentor and a perfect role model for those thirds kids.
‘‘He’s one of the hardest workers on and off the field and everything he has done footy wise is a credit to how hard he works.
‘‘Haysey was playing seniors when he was 15 at a time when we were one of the better sides of the competition.
‘‘His experience at GVFL level once again ticks the box of us trying to attract A graders to the club.’’
Hay and Cooper will join a long list of Rovers recruits, with the club already signing Aaron Purcell, James Gilligan, Des Morgan, David Smith, Ricki Waters and Nathan Kerr during the off-season.