LUCKLESS Wangaratta defender Matt Hedin will coach the Magpies’ under-18s next season.
After managing only six senior matches in the past two years due to knee injuries, Hedin will combine playing and coaching at Norm Minns Oval.
“He’s a ripping young guy,” senior coach Luke Morgan said.
“Matt’s got a lot of respect at the club and we think he’s the ideal person to help the development of our young players.
“He will be a great communicator between the junior and senior players.”
Despite Hedin’s horror run with injuries in recent years, he was vice-captain of Wangaratta’s losing grand final side this season.
The Magpies have been a power in the under-18 competition for the past decade, winning flags in 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015 and finishing runner-up in 2016 and 2017.
Cam Eaton will coach Wangaratta’s reserves.
“We’re really pleased with our coaching structure,” Morgan said.
Wangaratta ruckman Jade Cleeland has signed with West Adelaide.
The 23-year-old spoke to VFL, NEAFL and SANFL clubs before opting to join the Bloods earlier this week.
Cleeland has shared his time with Werribee and Wangaratta in recent years, making his VFL debut in 2017.
Morgan is confident the keeping the bulk of his side together with the club believed to be close to signing several recruits.
Meanwhile, Lavington has continued its push into the Hume league by luring Jindera speedster Dylan Pettingill back to the club.
Pettingill was a dominant player for the Panthers in the thirds and is set to inject further leg speed into the senior line-up.
He was Jindera’s best player in its grand final loss to Brock-Burrum at Walbundrie.
Holbrook’s Andrew Mackinlay and Brad Carman and Brock-Burrum’s Aidan Johnson have already committed to Lavington.