East Wagga-Kooringal have landed the signature of former AFL player Chris Ladhams, among six new signings for the Hawks.
Ladhams will look to make the Gumly Oval goal square his own four years after setting the Riverina League alight at Coolamon.
Young midfielder Jordan Bell will travel with Ladhams from South Australia, while the Hawks have also welcomed back Joe Scott, Sam Hodges, Bryce McPherson and added Ethan Andrews.
Ladhams, 38, played 54 AFL games for Adelaide and has since become a football journeyman, coaching South Australian country club Naracoorte this year.
Ladhams kicked 56 goals from 11 games for Coolamon in 2015, and kicked 114 goals for Nairne in 2017.
EWK coach Matt Hard is thrilled to welcome Ladhams to the Hawks.
“He’ll be pretty handy I think. He’s a good addition,” Hard said.
“I was pretty happy when he signed on the dotted line and jumped on board. We’ve lacked a forward and had a makeshift forward line last year. That’s no disrespect to our guys but they were playing out of position.
“We think Chris and a fit James Hodges will be pretty explosive up forward.”
Bell, 20, played under Ladhams at Naracoorte this year and won the club’s best under 21 player award.
“Chris recommended him very highly,” Hard said.
“He’s an in and under midfielder that likes to kick a goal so that’s very handy. We’re looking forward to having Jordan at the club.”
Ladhams and Bell are expected to be available for every game.
Scott returns from a season playing rugby union with Tumut, while Hodges spent this year with Batemans Bay, where they won the AFL Canberra third grade premiership.
McPherson returns to the Hawks after two years at Turvey Park, and brings his cousin, Ethan Andrews, with him.
“They all provide a lot of experience,” Hard said.
“Sam and Joe have both represented the Farrer League in the past. Bryce has been away and played some good footy at Turvey Park and it’s a bit the same with Ethan. He’s looking forward to a change.”
The Hawks began non-compulsory pre-season training last week but will officially begin in the middle of January.
Luke Cuthbert, who joined Turvey Park, is the Hawks’ only loss after finishing fourth this year.
Hard is happy with how his squad is coming together.
“It’s good for the group. We probably lacked depth in areas last year and with the kids another year older, and a full list, except for Luke, I’m pretty happy with where we’re at and where we’re headed.”