A VFL assistant coach. A premiership-winning Talent League mentor. A former AFL player.
Modewarre will lay claim to one of the best-credentialled coaching staff in the Bellarine League in 2024.
New coach Mark Hovey returns to Moriac Reserve, where he featured in their 1989 GDFNL Division 2 premiership, with a resume that includes a stint with Geelong’s VFL program after taking St Joseph’s to a GFNL grand final in 2009.
Joining Hovey are former South Barwon and Colac star Jason Armistead and ex-Port Adelaide player Ryan Williams.
Armistead’s CV includes successive finals appearances as coach of Anglesea and leading the Geelong Falcons to the 2018 Girls Talent League premiership.
Williams, who made two appearances with the Power and is a triple-premiership-winner with SANFL club Central District, returned to Geelong to play with the Cats’ VFL team and featured in St Joseph’s drought-breaking 2015 premiership before returning to home club Anglesea.
He spent this year with Colac and District club Lorne, kicking 51 goals in 19 games as the Dolphins reached the second week of the finals.
Throw in 2018 Modewarre premiership player Brendan Wemyss, and there is no shortage of wisdom available to the Warriors players.
“It wasn’t about me turning up and bringing a couple of players along,” Hovey said.
“It was about me getting the job and then really beefing up the coaching because sometimes, at local level, coaches can just look at going and getting players and neglect the coaching group a little bit.
“I was super keen to have some really respected, good people around to give me a hand.
“I think the resources we can call on at Modewarre are as good as anyone in the Bellarine.”
Williams, who shared premiership success at Joeys with the already unveiled Josh Hovey, will take to the field in 2024.
They’ll be joined by Scott Morter from Grovedale and South Barwon’s Patrick Cunningham.
Morter is the son of four-time Warriors premiership great Terry, while Cunningham’s dad Brett also pulled on the maroon and blue during his career.
2018 best-and-fairest and ex-Geelong and Bendigo VFL gun Matt Farrelly has returned from Sea Lake-Nandaly, and Lachie Warburton, who spent 2022 at Modewarre before returning to Woorinen, is also back.
And Hovey has confirmed the glittering 306-game career of four-time Ash medallist Josh Finch, who won his 10th club best-and-fairest this year, will continue for another season.
“I’ve got a really good relationship with Josh,” he said. “Josh built our house five years ago, so I’m pretty close with Josh, even though I haven’t had a lot to do with his footy.
“He was the one who sat down with ‘Fitzy’ (football boss Michael Fitzgerald) and (president) Danny Morter when we discussed the opportunity for me to come out.
“He sent me a text message and said, “If you coach, I’ll play”.
“So I’ve held him to that.”
Troy Anderson is the only confirmed departure.
The Warriors, who suffered an elimination final loss to Anglesea, will commence a five-week pre-Christmas training block next Monday night.
Meanwhile, Drysdale has signed former Geelong Falcon Flynn Chirgwin from St Mary’s and Andrew Crosbie from Newtown & Chilwell.
Chirgwin, the son of 1985 Hawks premiership player Darren, made 13 Talent League appearances in his two seasons on the Falcons list.
Crosbie spent the year in the reserves in his lone season at Elderslie Reserve but has senior experience with Euroa in the Goulburn Valley League.