KOLORA-Noorat onballer Corey Rounds will make a welcome return to Hampden league darkhorse Terang Mortlake this season.
Rounds, 24, yesterday confirmed he would play with the Bloods, the club he grew up at before crossing to the Warrnambool and District league Kolora-Noorat in 2011.
The electrician played three seasons at the Power, winning a premiership in 2011 and the WDFNL’s highest individual honour, the J. A. Esam Medal in 2012.
Rounds said he had relished his time at Kolora-Noorat under highly regarded coach Ben “Beagle” Kenna but felt the time was right to return to the HFNL.
“I wanted to get back to the Hampden league and see how I go there. There’s a bit more opportunity (at the Bloods) now than when I left years ago,” he said.
“I loved the Power but I’ve been there for three years and done a bit. I was thinking if I left it too late, I’d start getting a bit older and never go back.”
The signing is the latest coup for Terang Mortlake, which looms as the big HFNL improver this season under club champion Matt Irving.
The club has also secured leading forward Sam Moloney from the Power while Panmure century goalkicker Chris Bant has joined as an assistant coach. The return of defender Michael Sargeant, a member of the Bloods’ 2005 and 2008 premiership sides from Western Australia has also strengthened the list.
By contrast, Kolora-Noorat has lost seven of its best players in the off-season, although Rounds said his move had the blessing of Kenna.
“Beagle said that was fine. They’ve never held anyone back from going to a higher level,” he said.
“It wasn’t anything to do with them, it was more as far as opportunities go for me to do something different.”
Irving said he was excited to have Rounds back at Terang Mortlake. Rounds’ step-brothers Dylan and Lachlan Wareham also play for the Bloods.“To get him, Sam Moloney and Chris Bant from the District league is really positive for us,” Irving said.
“Those three boys have played in a variety of different finals. They bring finals experience with them, which is what we lack a bit at the minute. We’ve got a really young group. Any experience finals-wise is going to be really positive for us.”
Irving said Rounds “hasn’t missed a beat” since training with Terang Mortlake since Christmas.
“He’s finding his feet a bit, getting to know blokes but once practice matches get under way he’ll be a really big bonus for us,” he said.
“Like anyone, he’s still got to earn his stripes. He’s under no illusions he’s going to walk in and be a dominant player like he was in the District league.”
Irving was also pleased top players at neighbouring WDFNL clubs viewed Terang Mortlake as a place they could test themselves at.
“We try and promote ourselves as a place guys can push themselves as best as they can,” he said.
“At the end of the day if they want to run around with Kolora-Noorat or Timboon, as long as they’re enjoying their footy that’s the main thing.
“That’s what we’re trying to promote in this area, getting blokes back playing footy and getting some support for our local clubs.”