FORMER Wangaratta Rovers star John Pratt has knocked back the chance to rejoin the Hawks, signing a two-year deal at Wodonga.
The tough midfielder is returning to the Ovens and Murray but employment opportunities, and the chance to play under former West Adelaide teammate Ben Hollands, convinced Pratt to choose the Bulldogs.
Pratt, 27, who headlines several big inclusions for the club, was a revelation under Mick Caruso last year.
He said he had considered returning to the Rovers and “in another world, it might have worked out but Wodonga bent over backwards to help me”.
“The main reason is work.
“If I went back to Rovers, I would have had to commute from Wodonga,” he said.
“I spoke to Wodonga before I came over and I played with Benny at West Adelaide.
“I’m interested in coaching and Benny will be perfect to learn from.”
Pratt, who has also taken on a development coaching role at John Flower Oval, left the Hawks last summer to return to South Australia for family reasons.
He played with mates at Torrens Valley this year and said he was excited to be returning to a higher level.
Pratt admitted he wouldn’t have the luxury of sneaking under the radar.
“I probably did sneak under the radar a bit that first year. It was a good learning curve,” he said.
“I know what to expect, which is good, and I’m excited to be back.”
Pratt, who will play cricket at New City in Cricket Albury-Wodonga’s Provincial competition, expected to arrive on the Border next month.
The good news keeps coming for the resurgent Bulldogs, with the club also signing talented SANFL key position player Andrew Carter.
Talented Wodonga juniors Zach Jones, Josh Hicks and 2009 Rising Star winner Jared Worsteling have also returned to Wodonga.