K rock Football

Dizzy on comeback trail

Dylan Holland following Barwon Heads’ 2019 grand final win. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

BELOVED Barwon Heads cult figure Dylan Holland looks set to make an unlikely return to football in a massive boost for new coach Daniel Donati.

Holland, who earned BFL Team of the Year honours and represented the league, retired after suffering another dislocated shoulder in the Seagulls’ drought-breaking 2019 premiership team.

However, after recent surgery on the shoulder, the key defender has indicated to the club he’s keen to pull on the boots again.

“To get someone like that to want to come back to the club after a couple of years away, for a new coach coming in, is really exciting for the football club,” Donati said.

“Everybody speaks really highly of him – not just as a footballer, but as a character as well, and that’s important for a new coach.”

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In further good news for Barwon Heads, it has welcomed four handy recruits.

After four seasons out of the game, former North Ballarat VFL player Shaun Lyle will make a return to football, while Donati’s Eastern Football League links have helped net Sam Baker (Mooroolbark) and Kyle Maher (Croydon)

Leighton Driscoll, who made four GFL senior appearances as a back-up ruckman at Lara after arriving from Bendigo League club Strathfieldsaye, has also signed.

Lyle, a two-time Ballarat league premiership player, is a handy acquisition in more ways than one, with his time on the sidelines seeing him carrying just one point.

“He’s one of those where hopefully we reflect and think how lucky we were to land someone like Shaun,” Donati said.

“Shaun’s had four years out of the game but has had significant VFL experience.

“He’s a two-time premiership player with North Ballarat (BFL). He kicked a bag of goals in both premierships – four and five, I think, respectively.”

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Donati also revealed former AFL player Mitch Brown, whose brother Collingwood premiership player Nathan is heading into his second season at Howard Harmer Oval, is on the Seagulls’ radar.

Brown played 94 games in 10 seasons with West Coast.

“There certainly hasn’t been a commitment from Mitch,” Donati said.

“I’m staying in touch with him and am hopeful that something might turn our way.”

The return of Holland and signings of Lyle, Baker, Maher and Driscoll offset the departures of premiership duo Damien Horbury and Lachie Slorach.

Horbury has joined North Central League club Wycheproof Narraport in a coaching role, while Slorach has returned home to Navarre in the Maryborough Castlemaine District League.

Off-field, former Lara coach and Colac star Ben Harris has joined the Seagulls as an assistant coach.

In a reversal of roles, Donati was assistant to Harris at the GFL Cats.

The Seagulls return to training on January 24, with a T20 match against the Barwon Heads Cricket Club on Australia Day on the agenda.

Twitter: @tom_king79