Cress­well en­joy­ing Hawks’ pre­sea­son, im­pressed with work ethic

Cress­well’s con­nec­tions con­tinue to bol­ster Hawks

Wangaratta Chronicle - - Sport - BY JEREMY WIL­SON jwil­[email protected] ne­me­dia.com.au

The Hawks are two weeks into pre-sea­son train­ing and, af­ter back­flip­ping on his ini­tial de­ci­sion to step away from foot­ball, Cress­well is back in full coach­ing mode. “I’m lov­ing it,” he said. “The num­bers have been great – we’ve had be­tween 35-45 at ev­ery ses­sion.

“Ob­vi­ously we’ve re­cruited well and there are three or four we’re hop­ing to get be­fore the sea­son starts as well.

“Pup (Michael) Clark and ‘Gatto’(Shane Gas­ton) are fly­ing, and (Dy­lan) Stone will be like a new re­cruit af­ter com­ing off his leg is­sue last year.

“We’re also hop­ing to get Sean O’Ke­effe back as well – I rate him ex­tremely highly.”

The ap­point­ment of Cress­well has brought fresh en­thu­si­asm to the Hawks group af­ter what was the tough­est sea­son in the club’s his­tory.

But Cress­well said the work the play­ers were putting in on the track showed him they know how much they need to im­prove.

“I guess they prob­a­bly knew given how fit we had Raiders,” he said.

“I spoke to them about ex­pec­ta­tions at the start of the pre-sea­son and they’re do­ing four ses­sions a week so their work­ing pretty hard.

“We set some goals for play­ers to meet and I couldn’t be hap­pier with the ef­fort the boys are show­ing.”

The Hawks’ off-sea­son re­cruit­ing isn’t over yet with Cress­well still in talks with sev­eral high qual­ity for­wards and mid­field­ers.

Cress­well will also con­tinue his part­ner­ship with Shane Welling­ton and Dave Ni­chol, who will be his as­sis­tant coaches just as they were at Wodonga Raiders, while he is also hop­ing to add a third as­sis­tant coach in the com­ing weeks.

WAN­GARATTA Rovers’ will have ac­cess to a for­mer AFL player in 2019 with re­cently delisted Gold Coast de­fender Max Spencer set to play for the Hawks on a part time ba­sis.

Spencer, 21, played eight games for Suns across 2017-18 af­ter be­ing se­lected as a pre-rookie se­lec­tion in the 2016 draft.

But de­spite the Suns let­ting go of nu­mer­ous key play­ers in the trade pe­riod, Spencer was un­able to keep his spot on the list with coach Stu­art Dew opt­ing to let go of the ath­letic de­fender.

Spencer has signed with the Hawks as his home club but has as­pi­ra­tions to re­turn to the top level and will also sign with a VFL club, mean­ing he will play for Daryn Cress­well’s side when free of state league com­mit­ments.

Cress­well is well aware of Spencer’s abil­ity given he was se­nior coach at the for­mer Gold Coast Sun’s home club Palm BeachCur­rumbin be­fore join­ing Wodonga Raiders in 2015.

“He is a re­ally good young player,” Cress­well said.

“He’s a key de­fender – 6”4’ and a very ath­letic cen­tre half back.

“He was prob­a­bly un­lucky to get delisted in the end but hav­ing played in the AFL he’ll be in­valu­able to our group.

“It’s hard to know how many games we’ll have him for but we’re pretty pleased to have him on board.”

Spencer’s sign­ing con­tin­ues to the Hawks’ quest to re­turn as a reg­u­lar com­peti­tor in the Ovens and Mur­ray af­ter the club an­nounced the sign­ings of Matthew Med­craft, Tom McCaf­frey, Noah Amery and Nick Mur­ray last week.

PHOTO: Her­ald Sun/ Michael Klein

AN­OTHER SIGN­ING: Wan­garatta Rovers’ new re­cruit Max Spencer du­els with Mel­bourne’s Jesse Ho­gan in one of his eight se­nior games for Gold Coast over the past two sea­sons.

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