Hawks hungry to go one step further

Jack Arceri (Ljubica Vrankovic) 356242_03

With fresh faces at the club and potentially more to come Woodend-Hesket is hoping to take one step further than it did this year under new coach Alistair Rae.

Last season the Hawks fell short in the Riddell District Football League grand final to Diggers Rest in what was their first finals campaign since 2009.

Since then the Hawks have announced the signings of Jack Duggan, Will Wiseman and Luke Cuffe to their senior list, all of which are ready to make an impact at senior level, Rae said.

Duggan came to the Hawks from Strathmore in the Essendon District Football League, captaining Strathmore’s seconds to a premiership this season. He was also in and out of their firsts team who also made it to the grand final.

Cuffe has also come across from Strathmore, after taking the year off in 2023 following injury setbacks in 2022..

Wiseman is the brother of current senior player James Wiseman. He is a South Australian product and is making the move across to Victoria over the off season. He played under-18s and reserves at Glenelg in the South Australian National Football League across 2021 and 2022.

“I’m really happy with the signings that we’ve got so far… pretty happy where things are,” Rae said. “We’ve injected some speed and youth pretty much.

“I’ve known Jack Duggan in particular for 15 years since he was a young fella at Strathmore when his dad was assistant coach and I was a player.”

Not only has Rae been happy with the recruiting but also the list retention has been solid with plenty of the Hawks’ a-grade talent locked in for next season.

“From our top 10 of our best and fairest we’ve kept seven or eight of them, we lost our ruckman Tim Martin, he’s gone back to Banyule where he played before he came to us, and a few of the Abers’ boys went back to Aberfeldie but we were sort of expecting that,” he said.

“We’re not going to be putting any limits on anything now, we’ve got the list that I wanted in place so we’re pretty hungry to go one step further now.

“The start of the pre-season has been really good, it’s been a bit more of a relaxed pre-season. I’ve given a bit more leeway on some of the more senior, established players before Christmas because we obviously played four weeks deeper in finals than what we have been.

“So it’s been a good pre-season but a little bit more relaxed with some of the senior boys.”