Bannockburn young gun Cal Hetherington is pondering a move to the GFNL, with at least two clubs keen on the athletic forward’s services.
Tigers football boss Zachary Hickleton confirmed the two-time premiership player was pondering the opportunity to test himself at a higher level after a breakout season in which he kicked 38 goals in 17 games.
Hetherington kicked six goals in both meetings with Corio. However, the 22-year-old’s four-goal performance in the elimination final loss to East Geelong caught the eyes of many.
“He’s an amazing athlete. He’s probably one of the best runners I’ve seen play the game,” Hickleton said.
“His ability to jump and take marks from anywhere is pretty impressive.
“In our only final last year, he showed how good he can be. He kicked a bag of goals and had a lot more shots.
“So, he’s weighing up whether he wants to go and have a crack and see what level he can play or sticks it out for another year at Bannockburn.”
If Hetherington were to try his hand in the GFNL, he would become the fourth off-season departure from Victoria Park.
Daniel Measures has retired, with Hayden Spiller and Juanito Ramos to play elsewhere.
Spiller, who played two GFNL senior games with Geelong West-St Peter’s as a 16-year-old, has played 89 games for Bannockburn, including being part of the 2019 and 2022 premierships.
The ex-Geelong Falcon will head to North Cairns, where he played a game this year, to link up with former Bannockburn teammate Jason Tom.
“He loves it up there,” Hickleton said. “He loves the lifestyle.
“He’s young and wants to have a bit of fun and a bit of a change.
“He’s stewed over it for a while, but he’s made the decision to go up to Cairns to play footy.”
On the comeback trail from a ruptured ACL suffered in Round 4, Ramos signed with GDFNL rival North Geelong.
“He’s had a tough couple of years at Banno,” Hickleton said.
“Last year (2022), he missed the last couple of finals and missed out on playing in the premiership, which was pretty hard on him.
“But, to his credit, he had a massive pre-season this year. He started the season really well and then did his knee.
“He’s got some mates there, and hopefully, it gets him excited for footy again.”
Hickleton also confirmed former Richmond and Fremantle defender Reece Conca will return to Bannockburn in 2024.
Conca, who played 150 AFL games across 11 seasons with the Tigers and Dockers, is a player development manager at Melbourne.
He played five games for Bannockburn in 2023, debuting in the Anzac Day clash with Inverleigh.