Werribee has secured a key plank of its backline setup for 2019 with the re-signing of Nick Coughlan.
The former St Kilda-listed key defender has penned a new deal to return to Avalon Airport Oval for a second season.
Coughlan said he was excited to re-commit to Werribee and begin working under new senior coach Mark Williams.
“It’s good to be back,” the 22-year-old said.
“I’m hoping I can get a good pre-season in with all the boys and we can hit season 2019 flying. We were able to string some wins together at the end of the year, so I’m sure we’ll take a lot of confidence from that and build on it for next year.
“We’re all very keen to get to know [Mark] a lot better and see what he brings with all the experience he has, and I’m sure we’ll feed off that.”
Part of a long line of Werribee players to come out of the Murray Bushrangers TAC Cup system, Coughlan has played 41 VFL games across four seasons, which include seven with Footscray in 2015 and a further 19 with Sandringham in his two years with the Saints.
Persistent injuries denied him the chance of an AFL debut, but he bounced back in his first season in the “big W” to play 15 games and finish eighth in the club best and fairest as an important key-defensive foil for eventual Bruce Montgomery Trophy winner Sam Collins.
Coughlan also proved himself a capable swingman, kicking six goals in 2018 from his brief forays forward.
Werribee football operations manager Stuart Balloch said Coughlan was a vital reacquisition for the club, particularly with Collins having now departed to reignite his AFL career with the Gold Coast Suns.
“As a key-position player, Nick played a number of important lock-down roles for us this year,” Balloch said.
“He can play tall and can play on mid-sized defenders, but he was also able to fill a role for us by going forward, so he brings flexibility to our team.
“The experience and maturity he and Sam brought proved vital in helping young players like Louis Pinnuck and Jack Henderson grow, so it was critical for us to secure Nick again for next year, and it’s terrific he’s now back on board.”
Coughlan is the third player confirmed as part of the 2019 Werribee playing group, with three-time best-and-fairest winner Matt Hanson re-committing to the club last week on the back of the earlier appointment of former Fremantle and Gold Coast star Michael Barlow as a playing assistant coach.