Keilor premiership ruckman Andrew Browne is returning to the Essendon District Football League premier division club.
Browne, who won the 2013 Reynolds Medal, left the club at the end of the 2018 season to go and coach his junior club Mansfield.
With Browne deciding he could no longer commit to travelling to play football, he made the decision to return to the Blues.
Blues coach Mick McGuane said it was a no brainer for the club to sign Browne.
Not only will Browne fill the ruck role, he’ll bring the extra experience he’s learnt coaching his own side.
“We can’t wait to see him wear the Keilor colours as a ruckman,” he said.
“We were delighted that he wanted to reconnect.
“He’s 30 years of age… He’s got at least another couple of years left in his body and he’s motivated and stimulated with the group we have and he wants to close out his footy career in pursuit of premierships.”
McGuane said the ruck was one area they had identified that they needed to add some more depth.
After losing Brock McGregor through injury in 2019, the Blues got creative to fill the void on the way to the premiership.
“We tried Darren Walters when he was with us,” McGuane said.
“Then to have given non-ruckman ruckman roles in Todd Stevenson and Brad Xavier, Jay White depending on who we played, Riley Ham at times, and David Gourdis we got through a season unscathed. Full credit to those boys when given that role.
“We can introduce a player like Andrew Browne back to our mix with the midfield that we have got, we have now got a specialist ruckman who generally gives us first use.
“It was a no brainer and he’s a great club person and universally respected in the EDFL landscape.”
McGuane said they were talking to a couple of other players to add to the squad.
Zac Wunhym, who has moved to Hillside, is the only confirmed out at this stage.
The signing of Browne comes on the back of the club announcing a number of key signings.
Skipper Kane Barbuto, star forward Dean Galea and former AFL-listed player Nick O’Kearney headline the signings so far.
McGuane was full of praise for the whole playing group and how they had handled this year, which eventually ended with no season going ahead.
“We had 137 playersfrom the seniors through to the second under-18 team that were participating or wanted to participate if we got underway this year.
“Probably about 127 of them trained in that period of time during uncertainty.
“The boys have been unbelievable right through this phase of commitment to training when we thought could have a season, even to the point of understanding that the salary cap has been sliced in half.
“The top echelon of players have led the way with signatures and just shown to us as a coaching staff and as an administration how much they have been invested in the club, clarifies their character and commitment to the cause.”