O’Don­nell re­turns to Hervey Bay Seag­ulls

Isis Town and Country - - Front Page - By MATTHEW MCIN­ER­NEY

HERVEY Bay Seag­ulls have se­cured their sec­ond big-name sign­ing with back-rower Robbie O’Don­nell com­mit­ted to the club for 2016.

O’Don­nell first played for the Seag­ulls when he moved to the Bay from Toowoomba as a teenager, and spent sev­eral years at Stafford Park – two sea­sons of which were in A-grade – be­fore he left to join Isis Devils.

He was one of the most con­sis­tent play­ers dur­ing his ten­ure at the Childers club, but O’Don­nell said the time was right to re­turn home.

“I’d been talk­ing to Tye (Inge­brigt­sen, Seag­ulls coach) about it for a bit and thought it was a good op­por­tu­nity to come back,” he said.

“I’ve been happy play­ing with Childers – I spent three years there.

“There weren’t any bad things at the Devils, I just feel it’s time to go back for a year and see what hap­pens.”

O’Don­nell is the sec­ond man to com­mit to the club for 2016 af­ter former Toowoomba cen­tre Nathan Mar­tyn was an­nounced last week.

Mar­tyn, a strong-run­ning cen­tre, adds much-needed depth to the out­side backs, while O’Don­nell will add more starch to the for­wards.

O’Don­nell will sac­ri­fice the 90-minute re­turn trip to Childers Show­ground twice a week to be­come an in­te­gral part of Hervey Bay’s premier­ship puz­zle.

Which role he will play is a mys­tery to the 23-year-old.

“It’s up to Tye – I’ll just get out there and do my job – but I’m aim­ing for one of those edges,” O’Don­nell said.

“It looks like they’ll have a great side next year. I’m ex­pect­ing big things with the play­ers he’s re­cruited and the guys al­ready there.

“Tye’s got a good strat­egy and the way he’s done things there has been great.

“I think we’ll have the side to do it.”

Inge­brigt­sen said O’Don­nell, who will slot di­rectly into the Seag­ulls’ back row, would be a key mem­ber of the 2016 sea­son.

“He said look­ing from the out­side it was our cul­ture that he wanted to be part of. He’s keen to be part of that,” Inge­brigt­sen said.

“We’ve lost our three back­row­ers from the grand fi­nal so he’ll take one of those spots.”

If their 2015 per­for­mances are re­peated next year Hervey Bay will not be short of point-scor­ing abil­ity.

With the re­cruit­ment of O’Don­nell, the Seag­ulls now have four of the BRL’s five top point scor­ers.

O’Don­nell scored seven tries and kicked 43 goals this year, and will be a more-than-suit­able goal-kick­ing deputy to Clin­ton Horne.

His in­clu­sion is also a smart move in the con­text of the BRL’s point sys­tem.

While the sys­tem is set to be re­viewed, O’Don­nell should not count to­wards the club’s points al­lo­ca­tion due to him be­ing a Seag­ulls ju­nior.

PHOTO: ALIS­TAIR BRIGHTMAN

NEW SIGN­ING: Robbie O’Don­nell is ex­pected to start pre-sea­son train­ing with the Seag­ulls on Mon­day, Novem­ber 16.

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