Hawks ready to fly

Jack Arceri. (Ljubica Vrankovic)

Oliver Lees

Woodend-Hesket will be hoping to go one better this season in the Riddell District Football League this season.

The Hawks fell short of the ultimate prize last year in a one-sided grand final against Diggers Rest.

It was a tough finish to an otherwise positive season for the Hawks that finished the season in third place with 12 wins and four losses and returned to finals for the first time in more than 10 years.

Perhaps the biggest change for the Hawks this time around is they will be without their veteran goal scorer and playing coach Josh Pound.

Pound regularly featured in the league’s top goal scorers list and last year finished with 30 goals.

But the Hawks were prepared for his departure and have moved quickly to plug the gap.

In November, the club announced the signing of Will Wiseman.

Wiseman joins his brother James on the list, but instead of running around on the wing, Will will be deployed to full forward.

New coach Alistair Rae said he was excited to see what Wiseman will bring to his side. Rae was a kick clog in the Hawks grand final run on field and is now playing-coa

“He should kick a few, he’s a big boy at six foot six,” he said.

“We’ve focused on adding some speed with all the players we brought in.

“We were quite old and slow last year, a lot of people over 30s, so we said let’s get some youth and speed and hopefully they hang around.”

Other new faces at the club include Luke Cuffe and Jack Duggan from Strathmore, with Rae using his contacts to bring in some fresh faces.

Daniel Toman will return for the Hawks after having a dominant season last year in his return to his home club.

In 2023, he became the first player from the Hawks to take out the league best and fairest Bowen Medal since 1984.

Rae said this year’s leadership group will be announced before the Good Friday public holiday.

The Hawks will face Kyneton in the first round on Friday March 29 at the Kyneton Showgrounds.

This year will be the Tigers first year featuring senior football and netball in the RDFNL after its request to transfer was confirmed as accepted in September.

In a statement RDFNL chief executive Jordan Doyle said the Tigers joining the league was part of a long term plan to bring another club to the competition.