MDFL - After spending a year away from the Tatyoon Football Club, star player Damian Cameron will return to the Hawks for the 2014 Mininera and District Football League season.
Cameron, the Hawks' 2011 joint-premiership captain, VCFL and JA Knight medallist, spent last season playing with the Horsham RSL Diggers in the Wimmera Football League.
Cameron will be joined at Tatyoon for the coming Mininera season by Diggers' team mates Kye Chappel, Matt Williams and Brodie Mines.
Tatyoon coach Jarrod Blandford said he was thrilled to have one of the Hawks' favourite sons return.
"Damien is back on board after one season away from the club at Horsham United as an assistant coach," he said.
"He has come back and will be an assistant coach at Tatyoon. He is certainly a very big asset to our club both on and off the field.
"After playing with a different bunch of blokes at a different club and league he will have some new ideas, so I will definitely be utilising that."
Signing Chappel is an equally big coup for the Hawks, with the key position player a senior best and fairest winner with the Diggers.
"We haven't really had a big presence in the forward line for a couple of years," Blandford said.
"There have been a lot of really good mid-range size players, but Kye will really help set us up at centre-half forward.
Midfielders Williams and Mines round out the Horsham RSL Diggers' quartet swapping the yellow and black from brown and gold this season.
Tatyoon has also secured the services of former Moyston/Willaura footballer Steve Butler, who will re-join the Mininera after spending two seasons with Buninyong. Blandford said Butler will also slot nicely into the Hawks' forward line.
The Hawks commenced its pre-season training last Tuesday night with a running session in the Alexandra Gardens followed by a skills session at the Tatyoon Recreation Reserve on Thursday.
Blandford said about 20 players attended an initial session prior to Christmas and after a solid break all are ready to get stuck into training.
"We are ready to go," he said.
"We have two practice matches teed up for March, so the main focus leading up to them and the season will be fitness.
"Running sessions will be held on Tuesday nights and then ball skills Thursdays."
After a slow start Tatyoon finished the 2013 home and away season in fourth position and fell eight points shy of making it through to a ninth consecutive grand final appearance.
Blandford is hopeful that a strong start to the pre-season will help the team once again go deep into September, but is realistic that a lot can happen between now and then.
"It is always hard to tell so early in the year, it's all good to say you've got six new players, but you might lose six players as well," he said.
"You can go out and get six of the best footballers from different leagues but it doesn't mean you will automatically improve. It takes time to gel as a team.
"Having said that I'm certainly hopeful we can finish in the top three.
"Like the team we had last year proved, if Taty make it into the finals anything can happen."
*Meanwhile the Horsham RSL Diggers this week announced its intentions to merge with the Natimuk Football-Netball Club for the 2014 Horsham District Football League season.
Both club boards voted this week in favour of an amalgamation, while a general meeting will be held on February 19 for members to vote.
If successful the merger will see the Wimmera Football League reduced to an eight-team competition, with the Wimmera commission currently working on a revised draw for the coming season.
The two merging teams to be known as the Rams, will play under the banner of the Natimuk United Football-Netball Club.