PROUD HAWK: Culture leads Rising Star to chase AFL dreams with Rovers

 Alex Marklew with his Rising Star award.
Alex Marklew with his Rising Star award.

WANGARATTA Rovers livewire Alex Marklew has knocked back the chance to play with the Murray Bushrangers and will chase his AFL dream with the Hawks.

Rovers have received a huge boost in the lead-up to this season, with the Rising Star winner opting to remain at W.J. Findlay Oval instead of playing in the TAC Cup.

Marklew, who turns 18 later this year, announced himself as a star in the making last season and boasts a skillset and athleticism which is sure to be attracting the attention of AFL clubs.

Hawks’ coach Paul Maher said Marklew had ambitions to play at the highest level and hoped to follow in the footsteps of former Hawk Zac O’Brien, who was recently rookie-listed by Brisbane Lions after stints with Yarrawonga, Aberfeldie and Essendon in the VFL.

“Absolutely he does,” Maher said.

“I guess that’s something that will be in the back of his mind and we saw recently what happened with Zac.

“Obviously the TAC Cup is seen as the best way these days but it’s not the only way.

“Hopefully Alex can really shine in the O and M and have some success here.

“We would have fully understood and supported him playing at the Bushies, if that’s where he wanted to play, but I guess at the end of the day you’re best off playing where you want to play.”

Karl Norman, who recently joined Ovens and King flag fancy Glenrowan, was drafted by Carlton off Wangaratta Rovers’ list back in 2002.

Marklew booted 19 goals in just eight games last season as a roaming forward after bursting on the scene late, winning the Richard Hamilton Medal as the league’s best young player.

He was best on ground on debut against Corowa-Rutherglen in round 12 with four goals, 10 marks and a stack of disposals across half-forward.

“He’s obviously spoken to his parents, the Bushies and us about it and deep down he just loves our club culture,” Maher said.

“He wants to be a part of that, which is great for us.”

In other news, the Hawks are expected to find out later this week whether former St Kilda forward Daniel Archer will join the club.

Archer, who stands at 193 centimetres and weighs 99 kilograms, is about to return from a trip overseas and will meet Hawk officials then.

In a further boost, VFL duo Aiden Yelland and Matt Suckling look set to play at least four games for Rovers when free of VFL commitments after a favourable draw.

The Hawks have lost five players since Paul Maher replaced Mick Caruso as coach, with Norman, Toby Ryan (Balwyn), Kyle Raven (Tarrawingee), Sam