HE played in the club's first game in the Hampden league, now North Warrnambool Eagles is hoping David Haynes can steer the club to its first final series.
North president Michael Harrison was yesterday delighted to announce former AFL footballer Haynes as the club's senior playing coach for the next two years.
It was the ideal appointment for the Eagles, who were aiming to recruit a playing coach.
"It's a terrific result for the club," Harrison said.
"It's one of our own players who is coming back to the club where he was born and bred after a distinguished career.
"There's a bit of buzz about it."
The newly-appointed coach - who has former Port Fairy duo Tim Sheldon and Herb Barlow as his assistants - was unavailable to comment yesterday as he is on a working holiday in Tasmania.
He is expected to move to the south-west in the new year before the Eagles resume preseason training on January 10 following their Christmas break.
Harrison said Haynes, 29, held an assistant coaching position this year with Bassendean in the Western Australian Amateur Football League.
"He played 15 of 18 games," he said.
"He played midfield and went forward.
"He kicked 70 goals for the year.
"It was a pretty good season."
Haynes was picked up by West Coast in the 1999 AFL draft, which also featured fellow south-west export Jonathan Brown.
His AFL career spanned 65 games for both the Eagles and Geelong, slotting 58 goals.
Harrison said Eagles supporters were natu rally excited about next season after a solid recruiting campaign.
"The expectation, which is always first and utmost for North Warrnambool Eagles, is to make the finals -something which hasn't been achieved since being in the league," he said.
"Everyone around the club is hoping that can happen.
"We're just first aiming to make finals and the rest will take care of itself."
He revealed the club had secured 10 recruits, which included Haynes.
But Harrison preferred not to name the newcomers until the new coach arrived.
He believed the Eagles would boast a deeper line-up in 2011.
"When you look at your Warrnambools, South Warrnambools, Terang Mortlakes and Koroits over the years, they've been stronger because they've had the depth," he said.