Newtown & Chilwell president Shaun McWilliam remains bullish about his club’s prospects despite the departure of two star midfielders.
Reigning best-and-fairest Matt Boag and two-time winner Blake Sutterby are returning to Torquay and Geelong Amateur, with the news overshadowing the Eagles’ announcement of the re-signing of coach Damien McMahon for an eighth season in charge.
“We’re going to miss them, absolutely,” McWilliam said. “But, we fully respect their decisions.
“They’ve done it for the right reasons. They’ve done it in consultation with us. They’ve contacted everybody at the club that’s had a bit to do with them.
“They leave with our blessing – they’ve given us the best years of their footy life.
“We want to thank them for their service, and they leave with our respect.”
McWilliam says Newtown & Chilwell is looking forward to the challenge of bringing through the next generation of stars at Elderslie Reserve, with members of the club’s under-18 section that has won the past two premierships ready to grasp their opportunity.
“I’m pretty excited at what we’re looking like (in 2024),” he said.
“The mix of experience and leadership we’ve got – we got a plethora of signatures this week.
“I think we’ve got to build to what we want rather than always recruiting.
“We’ve got a really talented bunch of under-18s and a talented bunch of reserves.”
Three-time Geelong premiership speedster David Wojcinski, who took the Eagles to the 2015 grand final, will return to the senior coaching staff after guiding this year’s under-18 team.
“He’s probably one of the best recruits the club’s ever had for the commitment he and his family put into the club and what he’s done for our junior program,” McWilliam said.
“He approached us and said he felt he was ready to support Damien, especially with this young group of players coming through.”
However, McWilliam says the former Cats’ speedster isn’t interested in returning to the top job at the end of McMahon’s tenure.
“The first he said was that he doesn’t want to be a senior coach again,” McWilliam said.
“But, he thinks he’s got a bit to offer in the senior program and would like to be involved, especially with his son Alfie coming through.”
Meanwhile, Jordan Lane, who kicked 16 goals in five games with North Shore this year, is returning to Tasmania.
Lane was a standout in the opening month of the GFL season before making two VFL appearances with Port Melbourne.
He has signed with Lauderdale in the Tasmanian State League.