Hawks heroes commit to flag defence
INVERLEIGH’S premiership defence has received a major boost in personnel with four core pieces to Chris Moore’s line-up confirmed for the 2024 Geelong & District Football League campaign.
Paddy Bourke, Ryan Robertson, Matt Tyquin, and Hawks stalwart Adam Donohue have all confirmed they will be Inverleigh players next season in their bid for back-to-back flags.
All four Hawks were instrumental in Inverleigh’s first premiership in 31 years, playing a role in defeating Thomson by 63 points in September.
Donohue, who won Inverleigh’s club best-and-fairest and secured a GDFL Team of the Season selection, said had the Hawks not claimed a win over the Tigers, a return to Inverleigh Reserve might not have been the outcome.
“I knew pretty quickly after the Grand Final I was going to re-sign,” Donohue said.
“If we hadn’t won, it may have been a different story, I wasn’t really sure how I was going to feel, but once we won it was one of the best feelings ever, there was a lot of love in the group.
“After that, I just decided there was no reason to go anywhere else, I’m 34 next year, so there wasn’t many other options. It was either stay on or stop altogether.”
Donohue led the Hawks’ goal-kicking last season and ranked fifth in the GDFL leaderboard with 51 goals without missing a game all year, producing one his best seasons to date.
Donohue capped off the home and away season alongside teammates Brad Surkitt and Casey Meehan, polling 15 Whitley Medal votes in the process.
Bourke and Tyquin enjoyed productive seasons for the Hawks, forming pivotal roles in Inverleigh’s midfield, while Robertson performed in several positions throughout the campaign.
Robertson will not return to the field until at least Round 5 following a heavy hit on Thomson’s Jahd Anderson in the early stages of the Grand Final.
The group will also welcome back Toby Manganelli following a year-long break from the club.
“It’s good to have those boys back, we’re a close bunch of mates, you don’t win a flag if you’re group isn’t close,” Donohue said.
“I think there is still a couple of players left to make their minds up but the majority of the group will be back next year.
“It’s such an even competition now, you can’t afford to go backwards on your list otherwise teams will just catch up on you.
“I think we’re in a good position at the moment, hopefully we can snag a couple of recruits before the season starts, but we’re hungrier than ever to defend our flag.”
Inverleigh has never accomplished back-to-back flags since its inception as Leigh Districts in 1914.