BY NATHAN DOLE
DEPARTURES of ruckman Hamish Hosking and captain Lee Coghlan from Sandhurst have continued what’s been a dramatic couple of weeks across the Bendigo Bank Bendigo Football Netball League.
Best and fairest in his two seasons with the Dragons, Hosking has signed to play with Birchip Watchem in the Goldacres North Central FNL in ’24.
For Coghlan it’s a return to Bridgewater where his footy career kicked off.
A Michelsen medallist as the Bendigo FNL’s fairest and best in 2009, Coghlan also won a premiership with the Dragons in 2016.
He led Sandhurst to last month’s grand final against Golden Square.
There’s been plenty of change at Golden Square since the dramatic grand final victory.
The Bulldogs this week announced Brad Eaton would replace premiership winning coach Christian Carter for the ’24 season.
An assistant coach of the Bulldogs in ’23, Eaton will be in charge of a new-look squad.
Multiple premiership winners with the blue and gold, Jack Geary and Hamish Morcom will tackle senior coaching roles at Cohuna Kangas and Harlowe Huntly Hawks respectively.
The Bulldogs will also be without long-time ruckman Matt Compston who has retired.
Just weeks after joining the premier’s club, Zavier Murley will leave Golden Square to play for Castlemaine next season.
The Bulldogs will welcome back Kyle Stevens who had played some senior games for the club when he was with the Latrobe University Bendigo Pioneers.
From Merbein, Stevens was a premiership winner with Birchip Watchem Bulls in ’22.
A huge plus for Castlemaine’s new senior coach Michael Hartley was being able to lure former players Kalan Huntly and Darby Semmens back to the club.
After playing key roles in Harcourt’s unbeaten run to the Maryborough Castlemaine District FNL premiership, Huntly and Semmens will make their way back to Camp Reserve.
Kangaroo Flat’s new senior coach Michael Ellings takes charge of a team whose recruits include Gisborne premiership winner Luke Ellings, and former Eaglehawk player Justin Bateson.
After a playing career with North Launceston, Ellings was an assistant coach at Old Launcestonians in Tasmania.
Next season will be his first as a senior coach.
The Roos have re-signed many of their talented youngsters, but will be without talented on-baller Mitch Trewhella who will play for Rochester Tigers.
The Tigers will also welcome back Dillon Williams from Eaglehawk.
Bridgewater has landed several recruiting coups so far.
The Mean Machine is bolstered by the arrival of Coghlan and by Lachlan Sharp, a four-time premiership player with Strathfieldaye and multiple winner of the Ron Best Medal as the league’s leading goalkicker.
Sharp has left Triple M Park to take up an assistant coaching role where Bridgewater will again be coached by Rick Ladson, a Hawthorn premiership winner in 2008 and also a premiership-winning coach with Golden Square.
Also on their way to Bridgewater are the Strathfieldsaye Storm trio of Harry Conway, Jack Neylon and Joseph Mayes.
Recruits at Bears Lagoon Serpentine include new senior coach Jake Wilkinson from Sandhurst.
A key defender, Wilkinson will play a crucial role for the Bears, as will ruckman Nathan Twigg and the skilful Darcy Hawker who return from Boort.
Coach of the past two seasons, Justin Laird will play on for the Bears.
Another newcomer at BLS is Doolan Nihill from White Hills.
Marong’s pursuit of a premiership hat-trick in the Loddon Valley will be done without brilliant forward Brandyn Grenfell who has headed further north to play for Nyah Nyah West United.
In the Heathcote District FNL there’s been some significant changes.
Coach of Mount Pleasant’s premiership teams in 2005 and ’06, Cameron Carter returns to Toolleen as senior coach once again.
Carter takes charge again after Adam Baird and Ben Weightman stepped down after leading the Blues to grand final glory in September.
This season’s runner-up, Heathcote has signed Kyneton ruckman James Orr.
The Andrew Saladino-coached Saints are likely to hold most of this year’s team.
At North Bendigo, Tyson Findlay returns to the Bulldogs’ kennel after a stint with Cohuna which included coaching the Kangas last season.
A triple premiership winner with the club, Findlay also won the Sam Cheatley Medal as the Heathcote DFNL fairest and best in 2014.
Another big recruit at North Bendigo is key defender Hamish McCartney from Maiden Gully YCW Eagles.
Coaching changes in the North Central league include Kangaroo Flat midfielder Mitchell Collins taking charge at Charlton.
Top ruckman Josh Potter is Donald’s new coach.
A three-year stint by Rohan Brown included being runner-up in ’22. Brown will coach Lake Wendouree next season.
St Arnaud is on the coaching search.