K rock Football

Phillis farewells Anakie

Jamie Phillis in action for Anakie. He will play with North Geelong in 2021. (krockfootball.com.au Image/Al Packer)

JAMIE Phillis has become the latest key departure from Anakie, with the versatile GDFL representative joining North Geelong.

The Magpies announced the signing of Phillis on Tuesday night, with his departure following that of young gun Bailey Ettridge to Lara and big man Kad McEwan-Walsh to Inverleigh.

North Geelong coach Ayden George said Phillis, who played 119 matches for the Roos after arriving from North Shore in 2013, would bring versatility to the Magpies line-up.

“Along with his experience, his versatility was a key point and a great reason to go after him,” George said.

“We haven’t got him pinpointed for a position right now, but he can definitely play forward, probably play through the midfield, and he could also help us out down back if we needed.

Phillis’ link with star ruckman and former Anakie teammate Luke Wilson, who arrived at Osborne Park ahead of the cancelled 2020 season, helped North Geelong in landing him.

“When you get the phone number a couple of times, you’re going to suss it out,” George said.

“I made contact with him, sat down and had a chat, and he liked what we were about.”

George said along with Wilson, fellow 2020 recruits Jacob Bruns (Grovedale), Jake Dalziel (Lara), Aaron Grant (Anglesea), Jacob and Reece Tompkins (Hillside) and Josh Widdison (North Shore) had committed to North.

However, 2019 best-and-fairest winner James Vanderkley has returned to Ballarat to live and is unlikely to be in black-and-white next year.

“He and his wife were out of work during the COVID period, and they’ve moved back home,” George confirmed.

“They’ve got a young daughter, so it was easier to go back for now.

“We haven’t completely ruled it (playing) out, but it’s looking very unlikely – he’s starting his own business, so he’s unsure whether he’ll play football full stop.”

George, who has committed to playing next year at age 36, is hoping for a return to training in mid-to-late November, depending on restrictions.

“I think we will be able to do smaller groups by then,” he said.

“It might be we start in groups of five or six, with leaders, early on.

“Until Christmas, I think it’s going to be getting yourself reasonably fit and, hopefully, after Christmas, we can get back to a bit of normality.”

Twitter: @tom_king79