Werribee has kicked off its 2019 re-signing campaign in the best possible manner by securing the signature of three-time Bruce Montgomery Trophy winner Matt Hanson.
The star midfielder has penned a new one-year deal that sees him return to Avalon Airport Oval for a fifth season.
Hanson, 23, said he was eager to begin working towards the 2019 season under new senior coach Mark Williams as part of a midfield group headed by new playing assistant coach Michael Barlow.
“It’s obviously pretty different, but it’s exciting,” Hanson said of the changes taking place at Werribee.
“Those two guys have a wealth of experience that will really help us along in our football journeys.
“I’m sure they’ve got a lot of knowledge to pass on to us, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what we can do under them.”
A Tasmanian native, Hanson has played 58 games and kicked 34 goals for Werribee since arriving from Launceston-based club Western Storm in 2015, in the process establishing himself as one of the VFL’s standout on-ballers.
As well as his record-equalling three consecutive club best-and-fairest awards, his first three seasons all netted VFL Team of the Year honours, and he also earned selection to the 2016 and 2017 VFL State Teams and finished third in the 2017 JJ Liston Trophy count.
He appeared on track for another big season in the first year of Werribee’s return to standalone status before a broken foot suffered in his side’s round-seven home clash with Footscray brought his campaign to an untimely end.
Hanson said he was now looking forward to putting what was a “very frustrating year” behind him and hitting the ground running over summer as he looks towards 2019.
“I was itching to get back out there and just missed out by a week or two, so I’m now looking to get through pre-season and put myself up for round one,” he said.
Werribee football operations manager Stuart Balloch said it was an “absolutely fantastic result” to secure an early commitment from Hanson for next year.
“He’s obviously had a disappointing year with injury, but he’s now fit and ready to go, so we’re already joking about the fact that he’s got a fourth Bruce Montgomery Trophy in his sights,” said Balloch.
“We spent the best part of the year without our premier midfielder and a three-time best-and-fairest winner, so to have him come back into the team and be like a new recruit for round one is very exciting.”