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Darke departs for 12 months

Torquay star James Darke (krockfootball.com.au Image/Marcel Berens)

TORQUAY will be without star midfielder James Darke when it defends its BFL premiership next year.

The Tigers have confirmed the two-time Ash medallist will spend the 2018 season overseas along with fellow premiership teammate Dave Allitt.

Darke, who won his first Ash Medal in 2014 before spending two seasons with GFL club St Albans, and Allitt join star forward Scott Hughes (Nhill) as confirmed departures from the team that overcame Geelong Amateur to win their first flag since 2006.

“We’re losing a few, which is disappointing, but hopefully we’ve got some kids who can step up,” coach Dom Gleeson said.

“We’re flat that they’re leaving, but we’ll get them back the following year.”

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However, the Tigers will be boosted by the return of defender Jono Hobbs from Port Douglas.

Hobbs, who played 83 games for Torquay before departing for warmer climes at the end of 2015, represented North Queensland this year.

Also returning is Tommy Henderson after seven seasons with GFL club Bell Park.

Gleeson is also confident members of the Tigers’ Colts side that became the first BFL team to contest a Division 1 Grand Final will have an impact.

Twitter: @tom_king79