FORMER South Warrnambool coach Matthew Peake has signed on to play with Merrivale in 2014.
Peake was playing coach at the Roosters for the 2012-13 seasons and is the latest big-name recruit to commit to the Tigers.
Koroit 2009 premiership captain Karl Dwyer will coach the Tigers while 2011 Maskell Medal winner Rhys Raymond will also pull on the yellow and black jumper.
At 37, Peake said he was refreshed and looking forward to joining the Tigers in what will be his first venture into the District league ranks.
“At the end of last season I was ready to hang up the boots,” Peake said.
“But I decided I wanted to finish my time in footy as a player and just enjoy the game without the stresses of coaching.
“I had always wanted to coach and I enjoyed it and while the win-loss record may not have been as good as I might have wanted, we did have a lot of success developing the kids.”
Peake said he was happy to fill whatever role the club needed but expects it is likely to be off half-back with some time through the midfield.
He said he was looking forward to playing under Dwyer, a player he came up against regularly at Hampden league level and one he has a high level of respect for.
“Karl is a terrific bloke and he will bring a lot with him to the District league.
“With Karl being a first-year coach, hopefully blokes like myself who have coached before can be there for a chat if he needs.”
While Peake is in the veteran category, he plans on making his stay at Merrivale more than just a fleeting one.
Peake said if his body held up he would like to keep playing into his 40s and said he would like to give Merrivale at least two or three seasons.
It is proving to be a busy summer for movements in the District league with plenty of players coming in and out.
Panmure has lost Jordan Brown who will play with the University Blues in the VAFA, while Russells Creek ruckman Zac Pickett has gone to the GFL to play with Geelong West-St Peters.
At Russells Creek, Nick Bristol has a clearance in to go to Merrivale, Scott Bristol is looking to go to Koroit and Chris Malone is awaiting a clearance to join North Warrnambool Eagles.
Forward Josh Campbell returns to South Rovers from the Eagles, while Timboon Demons pair Zac Tesselaar and Sam Negrello have clearances in to go to Simpson.