December 16, 2015 1:14pm
WHITTLESEA’S prospects for the 2016 Northern Football League season have been boosted by the return of former captain Roy Dyson and premiership player Luke Deards.
Dyson is headed back to Whittlesea Showgrounds after a season with Glenrowan, while Deards will add depth to the club’s senior squad as the Eagles look to cement their spot in Division 1.
Whittlesea coach Jim Atkins said the club was thrilled to have Dyson back.
“Roy is a premiership captain at our club,” Atkins said.
“Any premiership captain coming back to your club is going to be great for you.”
Atkins said the addition of former Western Bulldog and Brisbane Lion Justin Sherman and Coburg VFL player Jai Robinson had created a buzz around the club.
Sherman has signed with the Eagles as a playing assistant coach for the next two seasons.
“(Justin) has been fantastic, you can see that he’s a true leader,” Atkins said.
“All the boys are excited to listen to what he has to say, he trains hard and you can tell he’s had a lot of experience. Being at AFL level, he still trains like he’s playing AFL which is fantastic. It shows our young blokes where they have to get to (to achieve) success.”
The Eagles are unlikely to recruit heavily, having put faith in a talented crop of youth in recent seasons.
While their last Division 1 campaign ended with just one win and relegation in 2014, Atkins said the experience the group had gained at senior level would hold Whittlesea in good stead.
“They were probably 15-20 game players last time where now they’re going to be 40-50 game players, which is good,” he said.
Midfielder Riley Dyson and defender Jordan Ormerod have been two of the club’s pre-season standouts.
“Jordan has come back fit as a fiddle,” Atkins said.
“He’s probably been more of a backline player for us in the last couple of years, but he’s pushing to play a lot more midfield.”
Atkins said the club could still add 1-2 more recruits, but was satisfied with the list it had built.
The Eagles will return to Division 1 with a home fixture against West Preston-Lakeside on Saturday, April 9.