Recently delisted Brisbane Lion Ryan Harwood will join the Western Magpies for the 2018 QAFL season, after officially signing with the club in recent weeks.
“We’ve got a really young group, so his experience and leadership will be just fantastic,” said Senior Coach Brydan Morgan.
“You’d think you’d see him go through the midfield and probably at either end depending on where we might need him I guess.”
Harwood was drafted with pick 47 in the 2009 National Draft by the Brisbane Lions and played 81 AFL games, including nine in 2017. Along with his AFL appearances, the Tasmanian product performed strongly at NEAFL level this year, including a four goal performance in round 17.
The 26-year-old chose the Magpies as a result of a connection with Mark Blackberry, established while Harwood was playing at the Lions.
“(I’m) looking forward to it, can’t wait,” said Harwood.
“They’re my old club colours as well, black and white, from when I used to play at Glenorchy.
“I’ve pretty much only worn that jersey and a Lions jersey, so it’ll be good to get back into it.”
The Magpies finished in 6th place on the QAFL ladder in 2017, just missing out on the finals after Top 3 finishes the previous 2 seasons. As a result of the exit of 12 players after the 2016 Prelim final loss, 2017 turned into a transition year with a young list of players including 10 debutants and the young side did well to be in the finals hunt until the final siren of the 2nd last round of the H&A season
The signing of Harwood is great news for the club, who are in need of more senior players and leadership in a young group. The Queensland climate and proximity to some great fishing and hunting locations, was another factor in Harwood rebuffing offers from clubs all over Australia.
Harwood looks likely to be the first of a few names that could be donning the black and white for the 2018 QAFL season, as we look to take a more aggressive approach in the recruiting space this off-season.
“Aggressive enough. Without being over the top, we still value our young kids coming through,” said Morgan.
“We certainly need some more players in their late twenties just to give that experience and leadership.
“So we’ll be looking to sort of fill those holes, so to speak - hopefully with a few familiar faces returning home, as well as a few new names as well"
Watch this space Magpie fans!