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