FOR Jarryd Lewis, the phrase “the eagle has landed” fits well.
The three-time Coleraine premiership player switched from the South West District league to North Warrnambool Eagles during the Hampden league club’s productive off-season.
After two games, the Coleraine-based midfielder-forward is more than comfortable with his decision to step up to a major league.
“Absolutely loving it,” Lewis said of the Eagles.
“It couldn’t be better. I’m enjoying it.”
The only thing missing at his new home is four points.
“Hopefully we can start winning a few soon enough. We have to start turning those close ones into wins,” Lewis said.
Lewis’ signature was a win for the Eagles.
The 20-year-old earned a reputation as a match winner, firstly as a teenager with Coleraine in its 2007-08 premierships and then with Hamilton Imperials in the Western Border league in 2009. He returned to Coleraine for its 2010 flag and won the league best and fairest award last year when the Maroons bowed out in the preliminary final.
“I’ve been lucky to have the success at Coleraine,” Lewis said.
“After last year I was looking to test myself and try a higher level. I was lucky enough North Warrnambool got in touch with me.”
After starting a health sciences degree at Warrnambool’s Deakin University, he has managed to co-ordinate his on-campus commitments on training days with the Eagles so he can remain based in Coleraine.
The Eagles and the Hampden league have given him the challenge he craved.
“It’s a major step up even from the Western Border league. I’m just trying to get the hang of it at the moment,” he said.
“It’s definitely a big step up. It’s much quicker, the ball movement is better and the skills are much higher. I’m just trying to get used to the pace of it.”
Lewis knows his Hampden league education faces a big exam tomorrow when the Eagles face ladder leader Koroit at Victoria Park.
He expects to start forward and then move into the midfield — a role he has had in his two games with the Eagles.
“There is going to be a lot of teams fighting for a spot in the five,” he said.
“We have to start winning those close ones. They might come back and bite us. This one will be another close one.
“It’s a must-win game for us. We won’t accept anything other than a win.”